Avs seek payback against Oilers in opener of homestand

The Colorado Avalanche will try to exact a measure of revenge at the start of a four-game homestand when they host the Edmonton Oilers in Saturday's clash at the Pepsi Center.

Edmonton hosted the Avalanche on Monday and waltzed to a 4-1 home victory. The Oilers dominated the special teams' play in the contest, going 4-for-6 on the power play while denying Colorado on all three of its chances with the man advantage. Devan Dubnyk also stood tall in net for the Oilers, stopping 37 of the 38 shots sent his way by the Avs.

Monday's victory gave the Oilers four wins in their last seven battles against their Northwest Division rivals. Colorado has won two in a row and three of the last four encounters in Denver.

The Oilers had a two-game win streak halted in their last outing on Thursday, but the club still earned a point in the shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. Edmonton came close to becoming the first team to beat the Sharks this season, but Michal Handzus netted the deciding goal in the shootout to lift San Jose to the 3-2 win and a 7-0 record this season.

After Handzus opened the shootout by beating Dubnyk with a wrister into the top-left corner, both Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot wide on their attempts for Edmonton. Dan Boyle then converted a wrister to seal the two points for the Sharks.

Gagner and Taylor Hall lit the lamp in regulation for Edmonton, while Dubnyk made 36 saves in defeat.

"It was a great hockey game all around. You never want to lose, but I thought it was an excellent hockey game right through the 65 minutes," Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said.

The Oilers are 2-1-1 on the road this season and are capping a three-game road trip in Denver.

Colorado was able to halt a three-game slide on Thursday, posting a 6-3 victory in Calgary. Paul Stastny came through with a pair of goals late in the third period for the Avalanche, who experienced an offensive explosion after posting only one goal during their three-game slide. Colorado was shut out twice during the slump, including a 3-0 setback in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Stastny snapped a 3-3 deadlock with a power-play tally with 2:40 left to play, then recorded an insurance goal just 1:29 later to enable the Avalanche to earn their first win since a 4-0 victory over Columbus on Jan. 24.

John Mitchell and P.A. Parenteau also scored twice for Colorado and Mitchell also added an assist. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 25 saves in a solid first start of the season.

"Credit to the guys, they stuck with it for 60 minutes tonight and we had played last night," said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. "I thought we found some good energy there in the third."

Sacco is expected to go back to No.1 netminder Semyon Varlamov on Saturday. Varlamov is 2-4-0 with a 2.67 goals against average this season.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is expected to miss a fourth straight game with a head injury after being placed on injured reserve Friday. The reigning Calder Trophy winner was hurt last Saturday when he absorbed a check by Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart in Colorado's 4-0 setback at San Jose. As of yet, there is no timetable for the Swedish forward's return to game action.