As they try to overcome the loss of several players and hold on to a postseason spot, the Colorado Avalanche are feeling fortunate that they picked up Mikkel Boedker last month.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog is set to return, but Boedker will try to continue his strong play as Colorado chases its fifth win in six games Sunday night against the improving Edmonton Oilers.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said his team's depth would be tested on this four-game trip with Landeskog suspended, and leading scorer Matt Duchene and Chris Bigras out with injuries. That was even before Nathan MacKinnon and Eric Gelinas went down in Friday's 4-3 win at Calgary.
After a slow start since coming over from Arizona at the trade deadline, Boedker has come alive just at the right time. The veteran left wing had two goals in Wednesday's 3-1 victory at Vancouver before finishing with an assist and the lone shootout goal against the Flames.
Boedker has three goals and six points in his eight games with the Avs (37-31-4). He'll try to add to those numbers in Edmonton, where he's totaled four goals and three assists in his last six.
"We knew he was going to help our team speed. We were a fast team as it was, but he's really fit in well," defenseman Erik Johnson told the team's official website. "We all really like him, and it's good to see how he's fit in. He's played really, really well for us, so it's been a great addition."
Landeskog will be back after serving a three-game suspension for a high cross-check to Anaheim's Simon Despres on March 9. Bigras returned from a head injury Friday, though Duchene remains day to day and MacKinnon and Gelinas could be out for a while.
Since back-to-back wins followed a 3-2 loss at Winnipeg in the opener of the trip, Colorado remains in a tight race with Minnesota for the Western Conference's final wild-card spot. The club is hoping to cap the road swing with its longest winning streak since a four-game run in January.
The Avs pulled out a 5-1 home win over the Oilers on Dec. 19 before a 3-2 road victory Feb. 20. Defenseman Tyson Barrie has played well, totaling three goals and two assists in the series.
Edmonton (29-38-7), however, has won seven of its last 11 games heading into this matchup. Jordan Eberle and Matt Hendricks each scored in Friday's 2-0 home win over Vancouver.
Cam Talbot, who finished with 40 saves, has a 1.66 goals-against average in winning seven of his last nine starts. He's given up a total of six goals while splitting his two meetings with the Avs.
"You look at the best teams in the league and they all have that goaltending," Eberle told the team's official website. "Maybe some nights your team is a little off and you have that goalie there to backstop you and give you a win."
Colorado's Calvin Pickard, who has a .930 save percentage in his last six games, will give top goalie Semyon Varlamov the night off. He stopped 25 of 27 shots in last month's victory at Edmonton.
The Avs will certainly have to keep an eye on Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. McDavid has four assists in his last three games, while Hall has eight goals in his past nine versus Colorado.