EDMONTON, AB - After Edmonton had tied the game in the first period, Colorado scored the final three goals to skate away with their seventh win in their last eight games, this one a 4-1 victory over the Oilers at Rexall Place.
“It was perplexing to say the least,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “The last couple of that road trip and the last game against Anaheim, we were dialled in, each and every guy and tonight we just couldn’t get our legs. We couldn’t get into the rhythm of the game. The biggest thing for me was it was almost like we couldn’t work because we couldn’t make two passes in a row. Our execution was just terrible tonight for whatever reason and it happens.”
A pretty passing play got the puck on net for Colorado and following an initial save by goalie Ben Scrivens, Paul Stastny jammed home his 23rd goal of the season. Erik Johnson passed the puck to Gabriel Landeskog deep in the slot and the Avalanche captain made a move on Scrivens but was denied. The puck popped out to the side of the net and Stastny jabbed at it several times by the post before it was poked past the goaltender at 4:13 of the first period.
The Oilers evened things up on the power play with 3:02 remaining in the period. David Perron moved ahead of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle for the team’s lead in goal scoring with his 28th on the season, when he banked the puck off of Colorado defenceman Nick Holden’s skate and in. Sam Gagner and Philip Larsen had the assists.
The celebrations didn’t last long however as Johnson, who was in the penalty box for the Oilers power play goal, scored for Colorado just 12 seconds later to give the Avalanche the 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Jan Hejda and Nathan MacKinnon recorded the assists.
“That’s a huge boot right in the you know what,” Eakins said. “You’re not going great, you get the goal and it livens your bench and I’’m back there thinking okay, that’s got us focused in, we’re good now. Then they barely drop the puck and bang, it’s back in your net and that was a boot. Then even still, it’s still a game after two. We just couldn’t find it, we couldn’t get our legs underneath us.”
Johnson said after the game that that goal may have been the turning point.
“I think so,” the Avalanche defenceman said. “Anytime you’re a team where you score and the other team comes out the shift after and scores right after it’s definitely a buzzkill and a momentum killer. We controlled the pace of the game, the entire game, after that and maybe that was the reason why, maybe not but it definitely felt good to get that go-ahead goal at that time.”
With the Avalanche on a power play and an Oilers player down a stick, Tyson Barrie picked his shot from the high slot and fired it in under the crossbar and past the glove of Scrivens for the 3-1 lead. Johnson earned his second point of the game with an assist and Ryan O’Reilly picked up the second helper at 7:34 of the third period.
“They’ve been in these positions before and they know how to shut a team down or step on them when they’re down,” Oilers defenceman Jeff Petry said. “I think it was just they stuck to their system and played strong defensively in the third period.”
The Avalanche got some more breathing room when Jamie McGinn darted in and cleaned up a rebound in the slot to give his team the 4-1 lead at 16:19 of the final frame.
Scrivens made 28 saves on 32 shots.