SUN Hockey Pool

Avs won't be taking Oilers lightly

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

A naive view of the upcoming Colorado Avalanche schedule might lead someone to suggest they are licking their chops at seeing the Edmonton Oilers twice in three days.

On a torrid pace - 8-0-1 in their last nine games - the Avs roll into Rexall Place tonight with the playoffs still a real possibility.

But don't think for a second that Colorado is viewing the battered Copper and Blue - winless in 11 straight - as a free spot on the bingo card.

"You don't take Edmonton lightly," said Avalanche defenceman Brett Clark, who believes the Oilers should have defeated the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

"The breaks aren't going their way.

"Nobody is taking anything for granted (on our team)."

Entering play last night, the Avs were just four points behind Calgary, which had just one win in six games, for the final playoff spot.

What seemed like a given - Calgary being in the playoffs - is no longer that.

And while some Flames might be quietly grumbling about the schedule - as they have to play Nashville this week before hitting the road for four straight - they can rest assured the Oilers aren't going to further hinder their chances.

Edmonton head coach Craig MacTavish has made it crystal clear he won't be sitting his few remaining key veterans this week.

"I have been in the situation before on the outside looking at teams that don't need the games," said MacTavish.

"Detroit did it in L.A. a few years ago, they kept a bunch of their players back.

"It really left a foul taste in my mouth.

"We won't be resting anybody. They will be seeing our best line-up."

FINISH LINES: The dynamite play of Joe Sakic is one major reason why the Avs are suddenly the hottest team in the loop. Sakic has nine points in his last three games.


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