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Avs Clamp Down on Oilers, 4-1

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

Game Highlights
Laperriere postgame
Stastny postgame
Notes & Quotes
Following Colorado’s Wednesday morning practice at Family Sports Center, Avalanche head coach Tony Granato was asked about his team’s penchant toward being involved in high-scoring games early this season.

Through the club’s first six contests, the Avalanche had put up a league-high 4.0 goals-per-game while posting a 3-3-0 record. Granato’s response was that while he was happy to see Colorado’s firepower on full display, he didn’t want that kind of scoring prowess to be absolutely necessary for his team to claim victory.

Granato got his wish only a day later, as the Avalanche cruised past the Edmonton Oilers by a 4-1 score Thursday at Pepsi Center. Colorado received goals from four different players and saw Peter Budaj put up a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 25-of-26 shots.

“I felt good. Most of all, I think our team played really well, especially in the third period,” said Budaj. “We’re up 3-1 going into the third and our third was great. We didn’t allow any odd-man rushes and our penalty kill was really good. We were blocking shots, doing the little things.”

Both Budaj (9 saves) and Oilers netminder Mathieu Garon (7 stops) kept the opposition off the scoreboard in the first period.

Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff opened the scoring at the 3:40 mark of the middle frame on a power-play goal following an errant Adam Foote clearing attempt, but the Avalanche responded with three straight goals to close out the period.

Ian Laperriere tied it up at the 12:38 mark after depositing the rebound of a Ben Guite point shot. Paul Stastny then gave Colorado the lead on a power-play goal off assists from Marek Svatos and Darcy Tucker at 17:52, while Cody McLeod potted his third goal of the season after barreling toward the net and putting a backhander underneath Garon at 18:57.

The onslaught continued in the third, as Tucker set up Joe Sakic in the low slot at 3:32 to account for the 4-1 final score.

Stastny Keeps Streaking
Stastny extended his season-opening point streak to seven games with his second period goal. The third-year center has totaled 11 points (2g/9a) during the streak, which is the longest to start a season by an Avs player since Joe Sakic recorded a point in eight straight games to open the 1999-2000 campaign.

“I don’t know, I get a couple bounces here and there,” Stastny claimed, when asked about the streak. “The most important thing is we’re winning. If you get the points or you don’t, as long as the team is winning. It’s always a good mood in the locker room and good to be around these guys.”

Spreading the Wealth
Coming into the game 15 different players had scored a goal for the Avalanche this season, the most of any NHL team. Laperriere increased that number to 16 when he netted his goal in the second period.

But that wasn’t the only reason for the veteran forward to celebrate Thursday night. Laperriere also gained an assist on McLeod’s goal to account for his 300th career NHL point (112g/188a). He then completed the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” late in the third period after scrapping with Edmonton forward Zack Stortini.

Loose Pucks
Right wing David Jones, battling a case of the flu, missed tonight’s game…McLeod has nearly matched his 2007-08 goal total through Colorado’s first seven games…The second-year left wing – who netted his third marker of the season tonight – tallied four goals in 49 contests a year ago…Tucker recorded his first multi-point game as an Av, tallying two assists…Ryan Smyth’s four-game point streak came to an end tonight, while Milan Hejduk’s three-game goal streak was also halted.
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