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Roloson saves the day for Oilers

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Sergei Samsonov scored his first shootout goal in five attempts this season, beating Budaj on the backhand for the lone marker on either side.

From then on, the goaltenders stole the show. Roloson turned away Laaksonen, Hejduk and Sakic while Budaj stopped Smyth and Peca shot wide. Roloson's stop on Sakic to win the game was a brilliant desperation glove stop, taking away the open net from the Avalanche forward.

Edmonton enjoyed the game's first power play and quickly capitalized. Jaroslav Spacek teed up a shot from the right point that Ryan Smyth tipped low blocker-side past Peter Budaj to make it a 1-0 game.

Several minutes later, the Avalanche responded to tie the game at 1-1. John-Michael Liles wristed one that Roloson turned away but Andrew Brunette was at the top of the crease to bat home the rebound.

The Oilers' third-ranked road penalty kill was put to the test nine minutes in after Dick Tarnstrom was sent off for tripping. The power play was shortlived as some hard work in the corner by Steve Staios resulted in a four-minute high sticking minor to Joe Sakic.

Colorado took its first lead of the night with just under five minutes to play in the opening period. Milan Hejduk picked up a rebound during a scramble in front and backhanded it over a fallen Dwayne Roloson.

Edmonton stormed back to try and get the equalizer but Peter Budaj was outstanding in turning away point-blank shots from Ales Hemsky and Raffi Torres.

Shots on goal after one were 13-10 in favour of Colorado.

Midway through the second, Sakic showed why he is hall-of-fame bound as he controlled the puck and tempo of play for an entire shift, creating several scoring chances from different points in the Edmonton zone. Sakic's hard work resulted in a hooking penalty called on Chris Pronger.

Edmonton's penalty killers were able to limit Colorado's chances although the Avalanche were able to keep the puck in the Oilers' zone for a good portion of the two-minute power play.

The Oilers' best chance to tie the game up in the middle frame came with five minutes left and Rob Blake in the box. However, much like the Avalanche power play before them Edmonton was unable to get much going.

Just when it looked like Edmonton might head into the intermission down a goal, a fortunate bounce resulted in Steve Staios tying the game up at 2-2. Staios took a pass at the left point from Matt Greene and slapped it on net. The puck bounced off the skate of a Colorado defender and fooled Budaj.

After two periods, shots on goal were 21-16 Avalanche.

Dwayne Roloson came up with a huge stop early in the third on Joe Sakic. Roloson had lost his stick but was still able to come up with a blocker save as Sakic wristed it from the bottom of the left circle.

Minutes later, the Oilers converted to take a 3-2 lead. Raffi Torres flicked a shot from the left side-boards that Stoll tipped through the five-hole of Budaj.

With seven minutes left, Colorado tied the game up at 3-3. Following a faceoff, Brad May shovelled the puck on net and Jim Dowd scooped up the rebound and roofed it under the crossbar.

Edmonton had an opportunity to move back into the lead after the Avs took a penalty for having too many men on the ice. On the power play, the best chance went to Ales Hemsky who had Budaj beat on a nifty deke move but couldn't get the puck past the line.

Shots after regulation were 30-26 for Colorado.

For the best overtime scoring chance for either side, Ryan Smyth almost ended it on a breakaway but his deke move was turned away by Budaj. Sakic was good defensively as he came back to hold up Smyth.

Shootout Results:
(Goal scorers in bold)

Sergei Samsonov, Ryan Smyth, Michael Peca

Antti Laaksonen, Milan Hejduk, Joe Sakic

NOTES: Milan Hejduk returned to the lineup for Colorado after missing Saturday's game due to the flu... Dwayne Roloson wore his new mask and equipment for the first time... Jarret Stoll's goal made him the fifth Oiler to register 20 or more goals this season... Fernando Pisani had to be helped off the ice late in the third after being struck in the face with the puck. He did not return but was not hit in the eye... Edmonton played its league-leading 24th overtime game (12-12 record). The Oilers also improved to 6-8 in shootouts.
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