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Avalanche Vs. Oilers: Erik Johnson Debuts In Denver

What a difference a day makes! After being mired in the NHL's longest winless streak, the Colorado Avalanche broke out in a big way against the St. Louis Blues. Goalie Peter Budaj gave one of his best performances of the season, Paul Stastny broke out of an extended slump with the game-winning goal and two assists, and perennial trade target John-Michael Liles added two assists.

But the hero of the game was newly acquired defenseman Erik Johnson, who made a spectacular move against his former club and used a splendid wrist shot to break the 2-2 tie midway through the third period.

Now that Colorado has finally beat their winless streak, it's time to make it two victories in a row, and the conditions are ripe. The cellar-dwelling Edmonton Oilers come to Pepsi Center and will face off against the Avalanche in Erik Johnson's home debut. Edmonton has actually won three of their last four games in dominating fashion, with Ales Hemsky and rookie Taylor Hall leading the way offensively.

It's becoming crunch time for Colorado. They have a (very) slim chance at making the playoffs, but they need to win games in bunches until the end of the season, With very few home games left, a home loss to the Oilers would be inexcusable. Tonight sets the tone for the remainder of the season. Win, and you have some momentum. Lose, and you are playing for a higher draft pick come June.

Newly acquired goalie Brian Elliott has finally resolved his immigration issues and will get his first start in goal for Colorado. Devan Dubnyk will get the start for Edmonton.

Puck drops at Pepsi Center at 7:30 p.m. MST.