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GAME STORY: Avalanche 6, Oilers 2

Darnell Nurse and Milan Lucic score but the Oilers lose 6-2 to the Colorado Avalanche

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

DENVER, CO - The Oilers dropped a 6-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, losing both games in their back-to-back.

Milan Lucic and Darnell Nurse each scored, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up a pair of assists in the loss.

Mikko Koskinen stopped 23 of 29 shots, ending the match with a .793 save percentage. The netminder is 24-21-6 on the season.

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The Oilers return home for a match against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MDT.

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"It's not the loss, it's the chase that wears you down," said Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock post-game.

Coming in on the heels of a back-to-back, the Oilers scored twice in the opening period, with Lucic and Nurse getting the Orange & Blue on the board.

Lucic vacated the front of the Avs' net, screening goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Matt Benning whipped a point shot at the goal and Lucic was able to get the tip at the top of the crease to score his sixth marker of the year at 9:20, while the Avs were still looking for their first shot on goal.

Then, The Doc went to work. Nurse displayed his edges while maneuvering through the Avs' zone, finding himself to the left of Varlamov on the goal-line. The defender released a wrister that banked in off Varlamov's blocker, notching his ninth tally of the year and 40th point.

Nurse's point marked the first time since 2008-09 that an Oilers defender reached the 40-point mark, with Tom Gilbert and Sheldon Souray both achieving the feat that year.

Nugent-Hopkins registered assists on both goals, as the Oilers took their 2-0 lead into the middle frame.

"We played a great first period," said Hitchcock.

The Avs overwrote their two-goal deficit with a four-goal flurry in the second, getting three consecutive power plays to come out with a 4-2 lead to enter the third. 

"You can't kill three penalties in a row like that and we paid for it," said Hitchcock, whose club finished the night 2-for-3 on the penalty kill.

Nathan MacKinnon got the Avs on the board first, getting through three Oilers while on the man advantage and going glove side for his 40th of the year.

Exactly one minute after, Tyson Barrie launched a shot from the right side that eluded Koskinen, knotting the game at 2-2. 

Alexander Kerfoot then gave the Avs the lead, tapping home a puck that went from Erik Johnson to Matt Nieto then Kerfoot on the doorstep.

Video: Avalanche score six unanswered to top Oilers, 6-2

Before the frame ended, Colin Wilson netted his 12th of the season. The forward spun within the Oilers zone then released a backhander to make it 4-2. 

"They got all the momentum going and we didn't handle their pushback in the second period," said the Oilers coach. "Once they got their second goal, we didn't handle it very well."

Colorado extended their lead in the third frame, with Kerfoot notching his second of the match and Sven Andrighetto getting on the board late.

Kerfoot's second was initially called no goal because the player pushed the puck and Koskinen's pad past the goal-line. An Avs coach's challenge, however, reversed the call to make it a good goal.

Andrighetto's marker came from the slot as the forward whipped a one-timer high on Koskinen to ice it 6-2.

The Oilers will face the San Jose Sharks Thursday at Rogers Place then will end the season at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

"We got two games left," said Hitchcock. "We got to play as well as we can at home and then go to Calgary and play as well as we can there."

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