Oilers look to hand Avs their first home defeat of season

The Sports Network

11/8/2009 11:14:40 AM

(Sports Network) - The Avalanche didn't give their fans much to cheer about on home ice last year, but there is plenty of early-season buzz at the Pepsi Center now.

Colorado will try to set a club record tonight by winning a seventh straight game at home to begin the season, as it hosts the Edmonton Oilers in Denver.

The Avalanche finished with a Western Conference-low 69 points last year, going just 18-21-2 at home. However, Colorado is tied for the league lead with 26 points so far this year and is the only team left with an undefeated record at home.

The Avs' 4-3 shootout victory over the Blackhawks on Friday improved them to 6-0-0 at Pepsi Center, tied with the 2007-08 Colorado club and 1994-95 Quebec Nordiques for the best home start to a season in franchise history.

After rookie Ryan O'Reilly scored twice and David Jones had a goal and an assist in regulation, Chris Stewart had the winning goal in the eighth round of the shootout.

"We sure didn't have a good start tonight," O'Reilly said afterwards. "It's seems like all my goals are rebounds. The other guys do all the work and I get to put [the puck] in."

The Avalanche, who cap a three-game homestand tonight, did lose John-Michael Liles to a shoulder injury in the first period and he did not return. Liles missed seven games earlier this year with an injury and is day-to-day, but will not play tonight.

Craig Anderson returned to net on Friday and made 29 saves in Colorado's sixth win in eight games. Anderson started the team's first 15 games, a club record, before getting the night off on Wednesday.

One of Anderson's two shutouts this year came in a 3-0 win at Edmonton on October 27. Anderson halted all 25 shots faced, while Wojtek Wolski scored twice. It was Colorado's 10th win in its last 15 versus the Oilers, who have lost six of their last nine in Colorado.

However, Edmonton did record an 8-1 victory when the clubs last met in Denver on March 19.

The Oilers have lost three straight and are just 1-6-0 since starting the season 6-2-1. They have been outscored 24-11 and shut out three times in their last seven games, which includes a 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Thursday.

Lubomir Visnovsky and Mike Comrie each had a goal for the Oilers and Nikolai Khabibulin was charged with all four goals on 39 shots.

Khabibulin stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced versus the Avs in late October.

"We've got guys that are supposed to be goal scorers that don't even put the puck anywhere near the net, so that's the disappointing part," said Edmonton coach Pat Quinn. "I know this, you don't get many goals if you don't shoot it."

With Shawn Horcoff (shoulder), Ales Hemsky (shoulder), Jean-Francois Jacques (back) and Sheldon Souray (concussion) all expected to miss this game, the Oilers recalled both Liam Reddox and Ryan Potulny from Springfield of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Ladislav Smid also remains out due to illness and is questionable for tonight.

Edmonton starts a five-game road trip tonight and hasn't won as the guest since a 6-1 victory versus Nashville on October 12. The Oilers are 1-5-0 overall on the road this year.