NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, October 23rd (All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (4-4-0) at Edmonton Oilers (3-5-0), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Once the pride and leader of the Oilers, Ryan Smyth returns to Edmonton for the first time in a visitors uniform, as his Colorado Avalanche battle the Northwest-rival Oilers at Rexall Place.
Smyth, drafted sixth overall in the 1994 draft by Edmonton, spent the first 11-plus seasons of his career in an Oilers uniform, posting 265 goals and 284 assists for 549 points in that span, a total of 770 games.
However, last year, after failing to negotiate a long-term deal with the club, Smyth was traded to the New York Islanders at the deadline for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and the Islanders' first-round pick in the 2007 draft.
What is even more disheartening for Oiler fans is that the gap between the Oilers and Smyth, who signed with Colorado as a free agent this offseason, on a new extension was reportedly a mere $500,000.
Smyth, who has three goals and three assists in eight games this season, will face an Oilers team tonight that has lost five of their last six, including a 4-1 setback to Calgary on Saturday.
Sam Gagner recorded his first NHL goal for the Oilers, while Dwayne Roloson allowed four goals on 34 shots in the loss that saw Edmonton wrap a three-game road trip 1-2.
Edmonton will now play two straight home games.
Colorado, meanwhile, has lost the first two games of its current four-game road swing that will also stop in Calgary. The Avalanche were defeated by Chicago on Friday before falling to Minnesota, 3-2, on Sunday.
Tyler Arnason and Andrew Brunette each scored to help Colorado erase a 2-0 deficit, but Mikko Koivu scored unassisted in the third period to lead the Wild.
Koivu, after acquiring a loose puck in the corner, stuffed the disc between the pads of Peter Budaj with 3:04 left in the game. Budaj ended with 29 saves.
Both Karlis Skrastins (shoulder) and Milan Hejduk (back) missed the loss due to injury.
Colorado and Edmonton have split their eight-game season series in each of the last two seasons. The Avalanche, though, have won five of their last seven trips to the Rexall Place.
10/23 10:18:33 ET