DENVER (AP) _ The Edmonton Oilers never saw this one it coming.
Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists, and Shawn Horcoff added a goal and
assist as the Oilers routed the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 Wednesday night.
``It ranks right up there with the game in New Jersey last year and the game
in Vancouver this year,'' Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. ``Both times we
were playing the hottest team in hockey, we were really struggling and came
away with wins.''
Igor Ulanov, Steve Staios and Jason Smith also scored in a three-goal second
period for the Oilers, 0-2-1 in their previous three games. Tommy Salo stopped
``Normally, we play tight games with them,'' Salo said. ``Tonight I had one
of my easier games. All I had to do was sit back and watch our offense score
Colorado coach Tony Granato saw things from a different perspective.
``That was our worst game of the season,'' Granato said. ``The bounces
weren't going our way and we weren't doing anything to create any bounces.''
Brett Clark ruined Salo's bid for his 38th career shutout by scoring in the
last 30 seconds. Philippe Sauve's first loss in nine games (6-0-2) sent
Colorado into a tie with Detroit for the best record in the Western Conference.
Peter Forsberg was a late scratch for the Avalanche because of a strained
hip, and Colorado took a season-low 15 shots
Smyth turned a mistake by Sauve into a power-play goal at 18:43 of the first
period. He sent a rebound of his own shot between Sauve's pads from the lower
right circle after Sauve failed to secure the puck on Smyth's first attempt.
``I never looked at the puck after it stuck by his foot,'' Smyth said. ``I
tipped it and it went out to the side and into the back of the net.''
Colorado never tested Salo and appeared sluggish from the outset in being
outshot 14-6 in the first period.
Ulanov and Staios scored 42 seconds apart early in the second period to
increase Edmonton's lead to 3-0. Jarret Stoll won the faceoff and sent it back
to the right point to Ulanov, who fired a shot over Sauve's shoulder at 4:50.
Staios jammed his own rebound under Sauve's glove at 5:32 and Sauve was
immediately replaced by David Aebischer. Smith scored the third goal of the
period, deflecting a slap shot from the right point off the stick of Colorado
defenseman Martin Skoula.
Horcoff made it 5-0 at 7:22 of the third period.
``That's probably the worst game since we've been here _ we were flat,''
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said. ``We were just terrible. No excuse for it, it
was just embarrassing.''