Avalanche 5, Oilers 2

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DENVER (AP)—The Colorado Avalanche have rediscovered their power play.

Colorado ended a power-play drought with two goals in six tries in a 5-2 victory over the tired Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, the Avalanche’s final home game before the two-week break for the Turin Olympics.

“The stars must have been aligned right,” defenseman Rob Blake said.

The Avalanche were 0-for-15 on the power play in losses against Detroit and Nashville. The stretch was disheartening for a team that had at least one power-play goal in its previous eight games and is ranked fifth in the NHL in the category.

But the Avs converted on their second attempt Tuesday, when Milan Hejduk scored at 2:43 of the second period to give the Avs a 1-0 lead. Brett McLean added the second at 7:54 of the third period to make it 5-2.

“The problems we’ve had the last few games was not getting in the zone,” Alex Tanguay said. “Tonight we set it up and generated good chances. We had a good power play and should have had a few more goals.”

Tanguay added a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who handed the Oilers their second loss in their last seven games.

Tanguay, who leads the Avs with 65 points, gave Colorado a 2-1 lead at 11:07 of the second period when he took a pinpoint pass from Antti Laaksonen to the right of the net and put the puck past Mike Morrison’s glove. It was Tanguay’s 24th goal of the season—second only to Marek Svatos (30) for the team lead.

“(Joe) Sakic, Tanguay and Hejduk have been healthy and Tanguay has been the one producing on a consistent basis,” Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. “We have been getting a lot of scoring across the board this year, and if we get the power play and that line scoring, those guys can really pick it up.”

Morrison, who stopped 30 shots, received little help from his teammates and struggled at full strength, too. He gave up a weak goal to Blake, whose slap shot from the right point went between the goalie’s pads with 13 seconds remaining in the second period to give the Avs a 3-1 lead.

The Oilers came out tired after a 6-5 shootout victory Monday night at home against Anaheim, failing to muster a shot in the first 10 minutes. Edmonton never could shake that lethargic start.

“Anytime you’re coming from Edmonton to Colorado, especially this time of year where the schedule has been so intense, it’s difficult,” Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. “We were just tired.”

Edmonton managed to tie it at 1 when Jarret Stoll took a great pass from Ales Hemsky in the left circle and put the puck past David Aebischer during a power play at 4:17 in the second period.

The Oilers nearly took the lead later in the period, but officials disallowed Ryan Smyth’s goal after determining he kicked the puck past Aebischer.

“That was a huge swing,” Hejduk said. “Sometimes you need breaks, and we got a couple.”

Radek Dvorak pulled the Oilers to 3-2 early in the third, but Andrew Brunette scored at 5:05 later in the period to kill any Edmonton momentum.

Two more goals were waved off in the third period. Officials said Morrison caught Sakic’s shot before his glove entered the net shortly after the period began, then decided Hemsky didn’t put the puck in the net before Patrice Brisebois dislodged it a short while later.

“There has got to be a change in that rule. The puck is going into the net anyway, the net coming off the mooring had nothing to do with the goal itself,” MacTavish said. “That was a big goal, too.”

Notes

The first period was interrupted by a short fight between Colorado’s Bob Boughner and Edmonton’s Matt Greene with a minute remaining. … The game was delayed about 5 minutes before the third period because of problems with the ice. … Before the game, the Avalanche recognized their 11 players selected to play for eight countries during the Turin Olympics. Ossi Vaananen broke his right ankle last week and won’t play, though.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
R. Blake R. Blake
Colorado Avalanche
Scored at 19:47 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
David Aebischer Wpg 18 16