|Colorado's Scott Hannan tangles with Edmonton's Ethan Moreau at the Pepsi Center on October 23 2008 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)|
Although Edmonton started strongly with Shawn Horcoff tallying the first goal of the game, Colorado countered with four straight -- including three in the second period -- to secure a 4-1 victory Thursday night.
The Oilers were looking to rebound from Wednesday's 3-0 loss in Chicago, but a hooking penalty to Horcoff only 1:23 into the game put the club at an early disadvantage.
Although the Avalanche assumed a 4-1 shot lead on the game's first powerplay, Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon showcased his incredible flexibility to keep his club in the hunt for the opening goal.
Upon the return of five-on-five, Edmonton's "Kid Line" caught fire and peppered Colorado netminder Peter Budaj with a handful of shots.
But that would be last significant stretch of even-strength play in the first period as the Oilers and Avs traded four hooking penalties through the latter half of the frame.
After 20 minutes, the Oilers led the Avalanche 10-7 on the shot clock.
A sixth hooking penalty -- this time to Colorado's Ben Guite -- offered Edmonton their third powerplay of the game. Less than a minute into the man-advantage, Horcoff intercepted Adam Foote's clearing attempt and fired it back behind Budaj to put the Oilers up 1-0.
Edmonton was energized by the goal, and the club applied steady pressure on Budaj, eventually posting 16 shots to the home team's 11.
But a 12th Avalanche shot would put the club on the scoreboard. At 12:38, a blocked attempt stalled the puck in the Oilers slot and Ian Laperriere swept in, surprising Garon with a quick backhand to tie the game at one.
With the goal, the Avalanche found momentum. Just over five minutes after Laperriere's marker and with Robert Nilsson serving a hooking penalty, Paul Stastny snapped up a rebound and directed it past Garon to give Colorado their first lead of the game on the powerplay.
Then 1:04 later, Cody McLeod crafted a two-goal cushion. The young forward shoved the puck under Garon, and as the goalie settled to the ice, the puck slid out and across the line to put the Avalanche up 3-1 heading into the third period.
3:32 into the third, Avs veteran Joe Sakic stretched his club's lead to three goals. After forcing play back into the Edmonton zone, Wojtek Wolski and Darcy Tucker set up Sakic for a fourth consecutive Colorado goal with 16 minutes left to play.
Midway through the period, Jason Strudwick fought Cody McCormick in the Oilers zone and, by earning an extra two minutes for roughing, put Edmonton back on the penalty kill.
Just as both teams returned to even strength, a collision sent Horcoff limping off the ice and prompted Zack Stortini to take on Laperriere near the benches.
The fights stirred emotions but no extra goals, and despite out-shooting the Avalanche 26-25, the Oilers suffered a 4-1 defeat in Denver.