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Oilers roll into playoffs with win

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton had the best chance of the game early on when Raffi Torres rang a shot off the side of the net on Theodore's glove side about five minutes in. Shots on goal six minutes into the game were 1-0 Edmonton as neither team was able to generate much offence aside from Torres.

With Ulanov in the box, Colorado generated its first scoring opportunity. Brett Clark took the puck in the slot and had a wide-open net but missed the mark. Clark's shot hit the corner of the net where Conklin was able to kick it away.

Torres had another scoring chance with just over five minutes to play in the third. After a solid shift of forechecking with linemates Georges Laraque and Rem Murray, Torres teed up a blast from the left dot that Theodore had to be quick in going down to make the save.

With the Oilers on a power play late in the period, Pisani was denied on a backhand from the slot as Theodore continued his strong play.

With 23.7 seconds left to play in the opening period, Fernando Pisani found Rem Murray to the left of Theodore. Murray rifled it top corner for his first of the season to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

Shots on goal after one period were 10-5 for Edmonton.

Conklin came up big six minutes into the period, robbing Laperriere on a backhand from the top of the crease to preserve Edmonton's one-goal edge.

A minute later, Jean-Francois Jacques was sprung in on a breakaway and tried to deke out Theodore but the Avs netminder made a nice toe save on the Edmonton rookie.

Just past the midway point of the second, Conklin made a nice glove stop off Brett McLean as he fired a slapper from the top of the left circle.

Colorado finally evened things up at 12:28 of the middle frame. Andrew Brunette was stopped by Conklin but was able to pick up the rebound. He swooped behind the net before feeding Joe Sakic, who tapped it in to make it 1-1.

The Oilers had some chances on a late power play but after two periods the game remained tied at 1-1. Edmonton had 22 shots to Colorado's 12.

Edmonton came flying out of the gate to start the third period and it resulted in the team's second goal of the night. Theodore initially stopped Michael Peca's shot after he broke in with Fernando Pisani on a two-on-one. The Oilers kept pressing after the missed chance and eventually a shot by Torres from the slot found its way five-hole through Theodore.

As the period approached the midway point, the Oilers started to really pour on the pressure in Colorado's zone. Shots were 8-1 Edmonton seven minutes into the period.

Colorado tied it up with 11 minutes to go. After a nice three-way passing play, Patrice Brisebois wristed it from the hashmarks low past Conklin.

Avalanche pressure late in the game resulted in a Brad Winchester penalty for high sticking, putting Colorado on the power play for the second time tonight.

On the ensuing man advantage, the Oilers had a strong penalty kill. Steve Staios pinned the puck deep in the Avs end, eating almost 30 seconds off the clock. The following shift, Dvorak found Stoll in the high slot where he rifled it top corner behind Theodore to make it a 3-2 game.

Spacek added an empty netter with one second left to clinch it.

NOTES: Scratches for Edmonton included Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Ethan Moreau, Chris Pronger, Mathieu Roy and Danny Syvret. Drawing into the lineup after lengthy absences included Matt Greene, Brad Winchester, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Igor Ulanov. Jean-Francois Jacques suited up after being recalled from Hamilton yesterday... Stoll's goal was Edmonton's 14th shorthanded marker of the season, tying them for fourth in the NHL.
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