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Avalanche-Oilers Preview

A longshot to move into playoff position, the Colorado Avalanche are doing their best to remain hopeful.

Looking to avoid a third straight defeat, the visiting Avalanche try to get back on track Wednesday night against the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

Colorado (33-27-12) won six of seven after opening a five-game trip with Thursday's 5-2 victory at Arizona, then suffered consecutive 3-2 losses to Anaheim in overtime and at Calgary in regulation Monday. Sitting 11th in the Western Conference with 10 games remaining, the Avs have essentially no room for error while trying to keep their fading postseason hopes alive.

"We're probably going to need to win out or something like that in order to get ourselves in the playoffs," forward Alex Tanguay told the Avalanche's official website after reaching the 20-goal mark for the seventh time Monday.

While that's certainly a tall order, Colorado isn't ready to give up on the season.

''I will never say never,'' coach Patrick Roy said. ''This is a team that I'm proud of. When you're wearing the Avalanche logo, you battle. ... Every time you're going to be on the ice, you're going to compete.''

While the effort remains there, the Avs need to start better after allowing the first goal in each game on the trip.

Though opponents have failed on all 16 power-play chances in the Avs' last eight road contests - their longest such stretch in 27 years - and they've killed 31 of 32 penalties over the last 14 games overall, they are 1 for 13 with the man advantage in the last six.

"We're going to keep playing hockey and we're going to keep doing our best to win hockey games," said forward Gabriel Landeskog, who has two goals with two assists on the trip.

Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves and Tanguay and Matt Duchene each scored in the shootout as the Avs won their third straight over the Oilers (20-40-13), 2-1 at home Jan. 2. Colorado snapped a three-game skid at Edmonton with a 4-1 victory April 8.

Though Varlamov has posted a 1.44 goals-against average while winning his last two against the Oilers, those both came at home. He's yielded 13 goals in two straight at Edmonton and has a 5.42 GAA during a three-game skid there.

The Oilers' 2-0-2 stretch ended with a 4-1 home loss to Winnipeg on Monday.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton, which recorded at least four goals five times in the previous seven contests. Losers in 11 of 14, the Oilers have given up an average of 4.3 goals and allowed opponents to go 10 of 29 on the power play in the last eight games

Losing defenseman Andrew Ference to an upper-body injury and key defensive forward Boyd Gordon to a back problem in the first period didn't help Edmonton, which allowed the Jets to score twice with the man advantage.

"We need to be a little bit better in that area," forward Matt Hendricks said.

Nugent-Hopkins has recorded four of his career-high 23 goals in the last three games to go with seven assists during a career-high tying six-game point streak. He had four goals with two assists during a five-game point streak against the Avs before being blanked in his last two meetings.

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