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Oilers 4, Avalanche 2 @NHLdotcom

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Rem Murray wondered if he would ever make it back to the NHL.

Now the 33-year-old is healthy and back in the playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers.

"I wasn't sure I'd ever play a game again," said Murray, who scored his first NHL goal in more than two years Monday night as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2.

Murray, a healthy scratch for eight straight games, signed a one-year deal with Edmonton on March 5, returning to the NHL after missing the final 43 games of the 2003-04 season due to cervical dystonia, a nerve condition of the neck.

"It was an incredible feeling," Murray said of scoring his first NHL goal since Dec. 29, 2003. "Hopefully (now I can) get a few days of practice in and feel good going into the playoffs."

Jarret Stoll scored the game-winner with the Oilers short-handed, and Jaroslav Spaced added an empty-netter in the final second. Raffi Torres had the other goal for Edmonton.

The Oilers, who were already assured of eighth place, also prevented the seventh-seeded Avalanche (43-30-9) from moving into sixth.

Fernando Pisani had two assists as Edmonton ended the regular season with two straight wins. The Oilers open the playoffs in Detroit this weekend.

"We wanted to build some momentum going into the playoffs," Pisani said. "We did that tonight."

Joe Sakic and Patrice Brisebois scored for Colorado, which dropped three straight games and four of its last five to close out the year. The Avalanche will meet Dallas in the first playoff round.

"We played really bad tonight, to tell you the truth," said Brisebois, a 15-year veteran defenseman in his first season with the Avalanche. "We better regroup for the playoffs."

Sakic moved into 17th place on the NHL's career goals list when he scored his 574th in the second period.

Torres scored his first goal in 11 games less than a minute into the third period, but Brisebois soon tied the game 2-2 with a redirect after being left alone in the slot.

Stoll's winner came off Jose Theodore's giveaway at 14:46.

The Oilers, having secured a playoff berth after Thursday's 2-1 win over Anaheim, sat seven regulars - including center Shawn Horcoff, defenseman Chris Pronger, goals leader Ryan Smyth, Ethan Moreau and goalie Dwayne Roloson, who had started 19 straight games.

"I was concerned with the injury factor," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It wasn't worthwhile at the end of the day taking the chance."

Ty Conklin made 15 saves for Edmonton in his first action since March 7.

Theodore suffered his third straight loss despite making 33 saves.

"As the games went on I feel better and better," said the former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner with Montreal who suffered a broken right heel before being traded to Colorado on March 8. "In the playoffs you need a goalie to make the big saves."

The Avalanche had five shots on goal in the first period and finished with 18.

Notes: Oilers defencsman Igor Ulanov played for the first time in 22 games dating back to March 1. ... The Oilers finished the regular season with five players with at least 20 goals - Smyth (36), Torres (27), Sergei Samsonov (23), Horcoff (22), and Stoll (22).

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