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Oilers snowed under by Avalanche

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Mike Morrison was tested in the early going as Colorado carried the play in the opening minutes of the first period. Shots on goal eight minutes in were 5-0 Avalanche.

Just when it looked like the Oilers might be turning the momentum their way, Raffi Torres was ticketed for interference, sending Colorado on the game's first power play.

Morrison's best save came just as the penalty expired, sliding across to deny Alex Tanguay on a one-time attempt.

Ryan Smyth had a chance for the Oilers, walking in on goal before Aebischer pokechecked it away from him. Shots were 8-1 for the home team after that chance.

With six minutes to go in the first, the Oilers went on their first power play of the game. Colorado's penalty killers did a good job keeping Edmonton to the perimeter, holding them to one shot during the two minutes.

As the period neared an end, Matt Greene and Bob Boughner dropped the gloves after Greene flattened Boughner at the blueline. Greene got the better of the veteran Boughner in the fight.

After the first period ended, shots on goal were 9-5 in favour of Colorado.

The Avalanche struck early in the period after Edmonton took a penalty for having too many men on the ice. Alex Tanguay threaded a pass over to Milan Hejduk who was at the left circle. Hejduk wristed one that bounced out of the net almost as quickly as it went in to make it 1-0 Avs.

Edmonton had a chance to even the score shortly after falling behind with a power play of their own and did just that. Ales Hemsky fed Jarret Stoll across the ice for a one-timer that Aebischer didn't even see to tie the game.

The Oilers looked to move ahead 2-1 with another power play marker but Ryan Smyth was deemed to have kicked it into the Avalanche goal.

Just as the penalty to Tanguay expired, Joe Sakic did some nifty stickhandling high in the Oilers zone. Sakic was tripped up while handling the puck but managed to maintain control. He skated into the corner and dished it to Antti Laaksonen, who passed it in front to Tanguay who tapped it in for a goal after coming out of the box.

Late in the second, Jean-Francois Jacques was rewarded with some power play time after initially drawing a holding call to Rob Blake behind the Avalanche goal.

With seconds dwindling in the period, the Oilers iced the puck in desperation with the Avalanche putting on the pressure and it cost them. On the ensuing faceoff, Colorado won the draw before setting up a point shot from Rob Blake that got past a screened Mike Morrison.

Shots after two periods of play were 22-10 in favour of the Avalanche.

Mike Morrison made a pair of huge saves early in the third on an Avalanche power play. The first one was a glove stop off a Brett Clark point shot and on the next shift, he absolutely robbed Joe Sakic with a dazzling glove save. The play was even reviewed to make sure it didn't cross the goal line.

The Oilers almost made it 3-2 on a wrist shot by Ales Hemsky but after the evening's third video review, for the third time the video goal judge ruled no goal. Patrice Brisebois slid into the net, jarring it loose just before the puck crossed the goal line.

But Edmonton did not let the disallowed goal discourage them. Just over a minute later, Radek Dvorak wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Aebischer short side, cutting the Avalanche lead to one.

Just when it looked like the Oilers might steal away the game's momentum, Colorado caught a break and regained their two-goal lead. Milan Hejduk had the puck on a string before firing a shot on Morrison in-close. Andrew Brunette was right there to put home the rebound, 26 seconds after the Dvorak marker.

Colorado increased their lead to 5-2 with a power play goal by Brett McLean just under three minutes later. McLean skated in from the point before wristing one past a screened Morrison.

NOTES: Jason Smith (toe), Dick Tarnstrom (upper respiratory infection), Michael Peca (hip) and Ethan Moreau (ankle) were all out with injury. Kyle Brodziak drew into the lineup after being recalled from Iowa this afternoon... Milan Hejduk suited up for Colorado after being hurt for Saturday's game... Stoll has now registered a point in seven straight games (2g, 5a)... The Oilers lost only their ninth game in regulation on the road while goaltender Mike Morrison lost his first career NHL road game.
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