Ryan Jones snapped a 22-game goal-scoring drought with a second-period tally to bring the home side within two, but it wasn't enough as Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly tallied three assists, propelling the Avalanche to a 3-1 win over the Oilers Friday night at Rexall Place.
Devan Dubnyk got the nod in goal, posting 20 saves in the loss.
Following a pair of point-blank stops by Devan Dubnyk, Shawn Horcoff was assessed the game's first penalty -- a hooking minor -- putting the Avalanche's 19-percent power-play to work at 1:50. The Oilers' 12th-ranked kill held its ground, thwarting the Avs' early chance.
Moments later and after Ladislav Smid failed to clear the zone, Jeff Petry was put in a tough spot and was subsequently charged with hooking, giving the visitors another chance to record the icebreaker. And, and without allowing a shot, the game remained in a scoreless tie.
The man-advantage turned with 8:04 on the clock when Shane O'Brien hauled down Jordan Eberle, putting the home side on the power-play. The Oilers tacked on an additional two shots, but nothing too dangerous as the 0-0 continued in a sluggish opening period.
With just 46.9 seconds to play, the Avalanche took the lead. With Dubnyk racing back to his crease after playing the puck, the biscuit popped to the point where Erik Johnson cranked a bullet, beating the sophomore netminder blocker-side.
WIth 20 minutes in the books, the Oilers trailed 1-0 but were in possession of a 9-6 lead in shots.
Before the period was four minutes old, rookie Gabriel Landeskog helped orchestrated another beauty for the visitors. In a tic-tac-toe sequence between he, Ryan O'Reilly and Mark Olver, the puck was hammered behind a defenceless Dubnyk to put the Avalanche up 2-0 on their ninth shot.
As the period reached its six-minute mark TV timeout, a delay of game minor was assessed to Colorado's Kyle Quincey. Just like the Oilers' earlier opportunity, this too was squandered as the two-goal disadvantage carried into the period's middle portion.
The penalty box doors continued to swing at 9:19 when Eager was charged with tripping. And it took the Avalanche only 18 seconds to cash, making it 3-0. Landeskog picked up his second point of the night when he corralled a Paul Stastny centering pass in the low slot, scooping a quick shot under the bar on the surprised goalie.
With 9:26 to play in the period, another penalty kept the teams in a nine-skater situation. After a whistle, Ryan O'Byrne cranked Taylor Hall into the boards with a vicious cross-check, drawing the Oilers' ire but putting the home side on their third man-advantage opportunity.
Colorado's No. 3 was also charged with holding on the play, making it a four-minute power-play. But, once again, Semyon Varlamov was not heavily tested, keeping the Avs' three-goal lead intact.
Needing a spark, the Oilers got it courtesy of Ryan Jones. No. 28 hadn't scored in 22 games but, after a Jeff Petry point shot was blocked in front, Jones' outstretched backhander squeaked through Varlamov and across the line on the Oilers' 16th shot at 14:41.
Sam Gagner picked up a tripping penalty 49 seconds later, putting the Avs' 1-for-3 power-play to work. The Oilers' PK stepped up and didn't allow a shot as a chorus of "Let's go Oilers!" chants serenaded the clubs immediately after.
Through two periods, the Avalanche continued to lead 3-1 as the Oilers kept up with a 19-15 lead on the shot clock.
With a little panic in the home side's game, completing a pass proved challenging; and, as such, several icing calls were charged as the Oilers looked to stretch the Avs' D. Not sensing much in the way of success, the copper and blue attempted a new tactic. Taylor Hall burst down the seam and danced inside-out on his preventer, but his quick-snap wrister was smothered by Varlamov.
As the period's 10-minute mark passed, the Oilers had extended to a 24-20 edge in shots, but passes still weren't clicking as Edmonton struggled to embark on any sort of sustained pressure.
As the game wound down, the pace picked up for a moment. Colorado rushed up ice on a partial 2-on-1 chance, but Dubnyk stood tall in stoning Olver's backhand deke.
In need of a goal -- two, actually -- the Oilers pulled Dubnyk for an extra-attacker with 1:36 to play. Associate Coach Ralph Krueger helped choreograph a player on a stoppage six seconds later. It didn't help, mind you, as the Avs killed the Oilers' late surge, cruising to a 3-1 win.