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GAME STORY: Avalanche 4, Oilers 1

The Oilers allow three goals in the third period in the final stop of their five-game road trip, losing 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

DENVER, CO - Mikko Koskinen played lights-out with 46 saves but the Oilers couldn't overcome the absence of three players from their bench in the second period, resulting in a 4-1 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche in the finale of their five-game tour.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game at COL 11.27.19

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The Oilers return home for a game against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The match can be seen on Sportsnet & CBC and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. MT.

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It was a 1-1 game when Alex Chiasson was hit hard by Avs defenceman Ryan Graves, prompting Adam Larsson to take a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct in retaliation.

The Oilers were forced to go on the kill for an extended time, erasing three minutes of the major plus another two on a 5-on-3.

Jim Playfair's side of the Edmonton bench reduced to four bodies when Kris Russell - who logged 4:42 of shorthanded time on ice - went down in the 2nd while defending down a man.

Russell re-emerged in the third period, but only after the Avs had struck for three in just 2:32.

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett imagined his club would be able to come away with the momentum following the perpetual kills, and given their 5-for-5 PK finish.

"We didn't play hard enough and we didn't play smart enough," Tippett said. "We killed that penalty. We get a good kill, kill a two-minute 5-on-3... You think we'd get momentum and play smart out of that.

"Other than the goaltender and the penalty kill, to play like we did was unacceptable for our group."

Colorado threw 18 shots on goal in the second then took over in the final 20, out-shooting Edmonton 36-7 in the last 40. 

The Avalanche cascaded in the 3rd with Matt Nieto scoring at 3:05, Nathan MacKinnon making it 3-1 at 4:07 and Logan O'Connor putting the game out of reach at 5:37.

Video: EDM Recap: Khaira scores in the Oilers' 4-1 loss

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combined for 11 points in their last affair with the Avs but all the production for the Orange & Blue was courtesy of Jujhar Khaira and Darnell Nurse on Wednesday.

Khaira returned to game action after missing a pair of outings, putting the Oilers ahead in the first with a power move to the net.

The forward worked his way behind the goal-line then curled above the crease, backhanding home his fifth of the year. Nurse, picking up his 10th assist, received the lone helper.

McDavid's 11-game production streak, where he had 12 goals and 12 assists, halted in the defeat.

"It's not the way we wanted to finish this trip," Gaëtan Haas, alluding to the team's five-game road swing which ended at 3-2-0, said.

The Oilers didn't want to use the depleted lineup as an excuse in the loss and agreed with Tippett's post-game assessment.

"We could have played smarter but we didn't," said Khaira. "There's no excuse. We know that in the dressing room." 

There was no update on Chiasson post-game. He left the match after the hit from Graves and did not return.

"It was a tough game," said Koskinen, who is 9-2-2 this year. "They were coming hard and we were short of guys."

The Oilers return to Edmonton for a match with the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"We need to be better next game," said Koskinen.

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