DENVER - Ian Laperriere was merry and miffed as he got dressed after the game.
The Colorado forward was fired up over his first goal of the season that lifted the Avalanche to a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Thursday night, but fuming because of Oilers coach Craig MacTavish's tactics at the end.
Laperriere was agitated that MacTavish sent his tough guys on the ice late in a game that was already decided. So, Laperriere did his part to get them off the ice, drawing a misconduct penalty for fighting.
"MacTavish kept sending those guys out there and I don't think it was to score goals," Laperriere said. "It kind of cracked me up a little bit. It's 4-1 and he keeps sending those guys out there? He wants to be like that? It's funny that a guy who never fought sent those tough guys out there in a game like that."
MacTavish simply shrugged his shoulders when informed of Laperriere's comments.
"When he's coaching, he doesn't have to do it," the Edmonton coach said.
Laperriere had a goal, assist and a fight - the kind of night Gordie Howe made famous.
However, Laperriere could've done without the brawl. He already has seven stitches on the bridge of his nose from a duel with Dallas a few days ago.
But he's not going to back down from a conflict - that's his primary role. So, he made his feelings known.
"They keep chirping, chirping, chirping," Laperriere said. "You're always afraid those guys will go after guys who don't fight."
As for his second-period goal, it was nothing special, he simply put it on net.
But it tied the game and sparked the Avalanche to their fourth straight win. Paul Stastny and Cody McLeod would later score 1:05 apart to stake the Avalanche to a 3-1 lead. Joe Sakic sealed the game with the 625th goal of his NHL career.
A team that struggled to start the season has suddenly caught fire. They're leading the league in scoring with a four-goal average.
Colorado is also distributing the scoring wealth as Laperriere became the 16th Avalanche player to notch a goal this season.
"It's amazing," said Laperriere, who scored his first regular-season goal since February against Phoenix. "But I'm way past those stats, never been a stats guy. What's most amazing is we played good defensively and gave up one goal."
Peter Budaj had his second solid game, stopping 25 shots. He started the season rocky, giving up 13 goals in his first three starts, but has found his groove.
"I feel pretty good. The team's playing really well right now, and we want to keep this going," Budaj said.
The Oilers have suddenly stumbled after winning four straight to start the season, dropping two in a row.
"We wanted to be better today and we were," said Sheldon Souray, whose team was coming off a 3-0 loss in Chicago on Wednesday night. "We brought some energy off the start. We were moving the puck, keeping our game simple. That seemed to help us out at the beginning."
Shawn Horcoff got the Oilers on the board first with a second-period goal, but the Avalanche responded with four straight. Even more, they got goals from unlikely sources - like Laperriere and McLeod.
"It's a bonus for us," Laperriere said. "When we score goals it helps everybody."
The regular scorers got in the act, as well, as Stastny scored his second goal of the season. He has notched at least a point in all seven games.
Stastny said the other lines contributing takes the pressure off him.
"You don't grip the stick too hard," he said. "You know you need to step it up, but when other guys are stepping up it's good for the team."
Notes: Oilers D Steve Staios missed a second straight game for personal reasons. ... Avalanche F David Jones was a late scratch with the flu. ... Darcy Tucker and Ben Guite each added two assists for Colorado. ... Ales Hemsky assisted on Horcoff's goal, giving him 200 in his career.