EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Winless for an entire month, and closing in on a record for futility, the Edmonton Oilers finally had reason to celebrate, snapping a 12-game winless skid with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.
Colorado’s loss also meant that the idle Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff spot.
Marty Reasoner, a fourth-line forward coming back from an injury, scored the only goal in the shootout as the fifth shooter for Edmonton.
Reasoner was surprised to get selected for the shootout.
“It was a bit surprising,” he said. “I didn’t think I would be in the top five for our shootout order. I think I’m somewhere behind Ethan Moreau and just before Steve Staios. Definitely in double digits.
“It’s good for the mental stability of the guys in the room to get out of this funk.”
Reasoner wasn’t the only one relieved that the Oilers finally ended the losing streak
“That’s about as good as you can feel for a team that is not going to go to the playoffs,” Joffrey Lupul said. “That was a great feeling. It is a huge weight off our shoulders.
“Hopefully we can start playing some good consistent hockey now.”
“It’s a good feeling, I won’t kid you,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.
“Everybody is feeling good in the dressing room and it will finally give us a little life.
“More importantly it stops the bleeding. We’ve been hemorrhaging pretty consistently. It’s a good feeling, I won’t lie to you.”
The defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for the Avalanche (38-29-7), but they remained undefeated in regulation in their past 11 and moved within five points behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Colorado captain Joe Sakic said. “Dwayne Roloson was outstanding in net for them. He made some great saves. Paul Stastny had so many chances and just couldn’t put it in. We could have used the two points, with the race we are in, but I guess we’ll take the one and move on.”
Colorado opened the scoring nine minutes into the first period as Ian Laperriere found Richardson open at the left faceoff circle. With a pass from behind the net, Richardson sent a one-timer past Roloson for a 1-0 lead.
Colorado made it 2-0 when Sakic scored his 32nd of the season on a power play to extend his scoring streak to five games.
Edmonton made it 2-1 seven minutes later as Hemsky caught Colorado goalie Peter Budaj off guard, as he skated around the back of the net and banked a wraparound shot off Budaj’s skate for his 50th point of the season.
The Oilers pulled even five minutes later as Sykora sent a power-play shot from the high slot over Budaj’s shoulder for his first goal in 15 games.
Roloson was slow to clear the puck from the crease on a Colorado power play early in the third and Svatos swatted it through his legs for a 3-2 Avalanche lead.
Colorado was in control, but a turnover changed that as Lupul came away with a puck in the Avalanche zone and scored his 16th of the season with 1:47 left to play.
: The injury-plagued Oilers got some relief on Friday as forwards Hemsky and Reasoner and defenseman Tom Gilbert returned to the lineup, reducing the number of injured Edmonton players to seven … With three healthy players back Edmonton had to send three of their emergency call-ups to the minors, shipping forwards Robert Nilsson and Kyle Brodziak to Wilkes-Barre of the AHL and defenseman Sebastien Bisaillon to Val d’Or of the Quebec Major Junior League. … Sykora is the only player on Edmonton’s roster with more than 20 goals this season. Colorado has five … With five goals and six assists in his past five games, Sakic is only two points shy of becoming just the fifth player in NHL history to hit the 90-point mark at 37 years or older … The Avalanche have eight games remaining as they try to catch Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, including two against the Flames.