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Oilers face Avalanche, with Sharks in range

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 DENVER The Edmonton Oilers, winners of five Stanley Cup championships and runners-up two other times, produced the most dynamic team in NHL history 30 years ago. What is happening with them this year brings back memories of that Wayne Gretzky-led team Carl Soderberg Jersey. The Oilers, after years of picking at the top of the draft, are playoff contenders looking to add to their history. After a 4-3 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday in a Pacific Division battle, Edmonton has 87 points with nine games left in the season.Article continues below ... There is no time for Edmonton to wallow in the defeat to the Ducks. A matchup against the lowly Colorado Avalanche is on tap Thursday night at Pepsi Center and a chance to put pressure on the first-place San Jose Sharks, who sit just four points ahead of the third-place Oilers in the Pacific. Dont expect Edmonton to overlook Colorado, which is last in the NHL with 43 points. The Avalanche have played better lately and could derail the Oilers hopes for their first division title since 1987 John Wensink Jersey. This time of year, there isnt a casual night, Edmonton coach Todd McLellan told NHL on Wednesday. The Oilers are led by 20-year-old sensation Connor McDavid, who has been battling Pittsburgh superstar Sidney Crosby for the scoring lead in the NHL all season. McDavid has a league-best 85 points and 59 assists. The bright spot for the Avalanche is they probably wont have to face Cam Talbot, one of the hottest goaltenders in the league. Talbot started his 13th consecutive game Wednesday, facing the Ducks after posting consecutive shutouts against Vancouver and Los Angeles. He went 148 minutes, 18 seconds before Patrick Eaves beat him in the first period to break the streak. Colorado likely will face backup Laurent Brossoit, who relieved Talbot midway through Wednesday game. The Avalanche have struggled to score this season, no matter who has been in net; they have a league-low 140 goals, an average of 1.94 per game. They have been shut out 12 times, which ties the franchise record. While Colorado was eliminated from playoff contention almost two weeks ago, facing teams with something to play for has helped the Avalanche stay focused. It doesnt hurt our team, that for sure, to be playing hungry teams, coach Jared Bednar told HockeyBuzz. Every game a challenge for us and we need to find ways to work through them and secure some points and see some growth in our team. Were working towards something, and it not necessarily just this season. Weve got some young guys in the lineup that have come up and done a real nice job for us. It growth for them and it trying to find some chemistry with some of the guys that we know are coming back Patrik Nemeth Jersey. Colorado young core has not been as productive as Edmonton, and it led to talk that it would deal some of them before the trading deadline. The Avalanche made some minor deals but have started to look at the future, with center J.T. Compher and defenseman Anton Lindholm being recalled recently. For Edmonton, the future is now. The Oilers are 15 games over .500 for the first time in 29 years, but they dont want to settle for just making the playoffs. They are 12 points ahead of Los Angeles, which is the first team out of the postseason in the Western Conference standings. We have to keep climbing in the standings and getting away from teams, forward Patrick Maroon told The Edmonton Sun.

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