Avs welcome Oilers to Denver

The playoff-hopeful Colorado Avalanche will try to bounce place Edmonton Oilers today at the Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche had a two-game win streak halted Thursday in Nashville and the 4-2 setback marked just the third loss in nine games for Colorado, which is just one point out of a playoff spot in the West. The Avs are tied in the West standings with Calgary and Los Angeles and San Jose is just one point ahead of that group. The Flames and Kings are idle today, while the Sharks play tonight in Phoenix.

Today, the Avs will face an Edmonton club that is 16 points behind them in the conference and Northwest Division standings. The Oilers have fared well in this year's season series, however, winning three of the five encounters so far.

Edmonton has taken seven of 12 overall from the Avalanche, but the Oilers have dropped two of three and four of their last seven games in Denver.

The Avalanche scored just 74 seconds into Thursday's game against Nashville, but the home team led 2-1 before the middle of the first period and the Predators never allowed Colorado to even the score after that.

Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist, while Jamie McGinn also lit the lamp for the Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves in the losing effort.

Colorado played without forward Matt Duchene on Thursday after he sprained his right ankle in Tuesday's 7-1 win over Minnesota. The talented centerman is expected to miss the next three-to-four weeks of action, a fact that could hurt the Avs' postseason chances.

Avs forward Chuck Kobasew (back) and defenseman Ryan O'Byrne (knee) are questionable for tonight.

Colorado is beginning a brief two-game homestand today and is 19-15-1 as the host this season. Edmonton is just 10-21-2 as the guest, but it has won four of the last five away from Rexall Place.

The Oilers also played on Thursday and were dealt a 5-3 loss by the visiting Montreal Canadiens. Max Pacioretty scored twice and added an assist to lead the Habs to the road victory.

Taylor Hall, Shawn Horcoff and Linus Omark all scored for the Oilers, who have lost four of their past five games. Nikolai Khabibulin allowed four goals on 30 shots in the loss.

"We seem fatigued tonight for whatever reason," said Edmonton head coach Tom Renney. "The guys always try to respond, but it was just one of those games where we weren't particularly strong anywhere on the ice."

Edmonton is 17 points out of a playoff spot in the West and it's likely that the club is headed for a sixth straight year without a postseason. The Oilers last qualified for the playoffs in 2006, when they made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals.