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Rested Avs begin road trip against Oilers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The well-rested Colorado Avalanche will aim for a third straight victory when they open a three-game road trip by visiting the Edmonton Oilers for Thursday's battle at Rexall Place.
The Avalanche swept a home-and-home series with Minnesota over the weekend and haven't played since notching a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Wild on Saturday. That victory came after Friday's 3-1 decision at Minnesota and the two-game winning streak allowed Colorado to close out November by winning five of six games.
Colorado also is carrying a three-game road winning streak into Thursday's tilt and the club has an impressive 9-2-0 record as the guest this season.
On Saturday, Ryan O'Reilly beat Josh Harding through the legs in the shootout and Semyon Varlamov sealed the Avalanche's 3-2 win over the Wild with a glove save at the other end.
In the second game of a home-and-home, the Avalanche bounced back after giving up two goals in the last 3:27 of the third period, including Mikko Koivu's tying goal with 5.7 seconds left. Koivu was one of three Minnesota skaters to be denied by Varlamov in the Avs' first shootout of the season. Varlamov's glove save on Jason Pominville came after O'Reilly scored the shootout's only goal in the third round.
Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon scored in regulation for Colorado, while Varlamov made 35 saves through overtime.
It was the third time in the last five outings that the Avs have gone past regulation. They have won all three of those tilts, but Colorado doesn't want to make a habit of playing past regulation.
"We have to do a better job of winning these games in regulation but at least we got the two points," said the rookie MacKinnon. "It was a good couple of games."
The Avs will continue their road trip Friday in Calgary before capping the trek Sunday night in Vancouver.
Edmonton is coming off Tuesday's 6-2 home loss against Phoenix, but the Oilers have won their last three games in the series against Colorado. Thursday's encounter is the first of three scheduled meetings between the Oilers and Avs this season.
The Oilers also have claimed two straight, four of five and seven of their last 10 home games against Colorado, but Edmonton is just 3-9-0 at Rexall Place this season.
Edmonton trailed the Coyotes by a slim 3-2 margin after two periods on Tuesday, but Phoenix scored three unanswered goals in the final stanza to breeze to the win.
David Perron scored both goals for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk turned aside 27-of-33 shots.
"We really unraveled there in the third," said Oilers forward Taylor Hall. "It was a close game at one point, 3-2. We let it slip away from us. That seems to be the kind of theme this year."
With Ilya Bryzgalov still out with concussion-like symptoms, Dubnyk could get the start again on Thursday. Dubnyk is 7-3-1 with a 1.94 goals against average in 12 career games against Colorado, while current Oilers backup Jason LaBarbera is 2-6-0 with a 3.19 GAA in nine lifetime outings versus the Avs.
12/05 10:53:38 ET
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