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Smyth scores twice, Oilers beat Avs

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Both teams traded power play chances within the first five minutes of the game but neither side was able to generate any pressure.

Six minutes in, Raffi Torres, Jarret Stoll and Joffrey Lupul went in on a three-on-two. Lupul picked up a Torres rebound and had a wide-open net but his shot was tipped away by Milan Hejduk.

Hejduk figured in the scoring a minute later. Sakic took the puck in the corner and fed it to Hejduk in front. He one-timed a shot past Roloson to put his team in front 1-0.

The Oilers were unable to score on another power play in the latter half of the period and the best scoring chances came after the penalty expired thanks to some good forechecking by the fourth line. Brad Winchester had a couple of shots from the slot that Theodore kicked out.

Late in the period, Jason Smith drove hard to the net and tried to backhand the puck in-close. Theodore made the save and was down and out but Torres couldn't get the rebound up and over the Avs netminder.

After one period of play, shots on goal were 17-11 for Edmonton.

The Avalanche started carrying the play in period two, outshooting the Oilers 12-5 but the turning point in the period actually came during an Avs power play.

Colorado threw everything at the Oilers during a man advantage in the latter half of the period but Roloson made some big stops as the Avalanche pressed to double their lead.

On the heels of that penalty kill, the Oilers got a power play of their own and this time they capitalized. Steve Staios blasted a shot from the point that Ryan Smyth stopped and then backhanded out of the air to tie the game at 1-1.

Less than two minutes later, Smyth struck again - this time shorthanded. Reasoner chipped the puck ahead and sent Smyth chasing the puck. He beat out speedy Avs defenceman John-Michael Liles before wristing the puck through Theodore and giving the Oilers their first lead of the game.

Edmonton continued to pour on the pressure. Petr Sykora rang a shot off the post.

On the next shift, Brad Winchester and Ian Laperriere dropped the gloves with the Oilers forward getting the edge in the fight.

Shots after two periods were 26-23 for Edmonton.

Early in the third, Karlis Skrastins was sent in on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box. As he approached the net, he was tugged from behind by Pisani which put the Avs up a man.

Six minutes into the period, Ryan Smyth cut toward the net and Skrastins dove to knock the puck off his stick before he got a shot away. The Oilers caught a break, as a penalty was called on the Avalanche defenceman and Edmonton went on their fifth power play.

Colorado had a power play with seven minutes left looking to tie the game but it was shortlived. Milan Hejduk hauled down Smith in front of the net and was sent off, making it a four-on-four situation.

With less than six minutes remaining, Marty Reasoner looked to have scored to put the Oilers up 3-1. Reasoner batted a rebound out of the air but it was ruled to be knocked down with a high stick. 20 seconds later, Reasoner rang a shot off the left post.

Milan Hejduk almost tied the game with 40 seconds left, firing a shot from a tough angle off the half boards that almost squeezed through the pads of Roloson.

NOTES: With time winding down on the clock, John-Michael Liles stuck a knee out and injured Ryan Smyth. He had to be helped off the ice and looked to be favouring his left knee as he headed to the dressing room. Early reports out of the room were that Smyth has a charley horse.
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