The Colorado Avalanche’s losing streak did end at 10 games against the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night, but their winning streak came to a halt with only one, by the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.
Wednesday night the Avs hosted the Oilers, a team that has been down on their luck this year. With the success from the previous game, the Avs were hoping they could dominate the Oilers and climb even more in the tight Western Conference standings.
In addition, newly acquired goalie, Brian Elliott, was in net for the first time in an Avs uniform, since the trade. Elliott was hoping to have the instance success that former Avs goalie Craig Anderson had in his first game with the Ottawa Senators.
Those dreams were shattered as the Oilers dominated the Avs and made Elliott look just as terrible as he was back in Ottawa.
Although the Oilers secured the 5-1 victory, the reason why the score was so lopsided was due to the play of the Avs themselves.
The Avs came out very strong in the first period, which included outshooting the Oilers, 13-3, and not allowing the Oilers to really get anything going in the offensive-zone. However, the Achilles heel for the Avs let them down again, as the Oilers would score a first period power-play goal to take the lead, a lead that the Oilers maintained throughout the course of the game.
After the first period, it was all downhill from there. Elliott and the Avs would allow two more goals, including another power-play goal. The only saving grace in the period would be Milan Hejduk scoring his 19th goal on the power-play.
Still, the third period was another let-down as the Oilers would extend the lead even further by scoring their fourth and fifth goal of the game. Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist apiece and were the overall stars of the game, including Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 38 saves.
“We outshot them, but at the end of the day we just didn’t burry on our chances,” stated Avs forward David Jones. “We didn’t get enough guys in front; we didn’t drive hard enough. You have to give them credit, but at the same time you can’t look back and say we had so many shots on net; we didn’t get the job done and that is the bottom line.”
While the Oilers played very well and forced the Avs to commit many mistakes throughout the game, the Avs seemed to give up after the first period. As a team, the Avs were not skating well and were turning the puck over on a consistent basis. Also, the Avs were unable to give Elliott much support as a few of the goals were scored off the rebound.
“It’s a tough game for him (Elliott) to play in,” said Avs Coach Joe Sacco. “He had been off for a few days and I thought it was a hard game to play in. Peter (Budaj) had played the last six games and faced over 40 shots last night. We obviously had to get him in there and tonight was the night we decided to get him in there.”
“We turned the puck over a little bit,” added Avs forward Kevin Porter. “We didn’t capitalize on our power-play chances. Special teams, that’s a big part of the game now and we have to learn how to capitalize on our power-plays and shut down their power-play.”
All in all, the Avs looked awful against a team that has been terrible all year long. Although the Avs lost again, they are statically not out of the playoff race as of yet, but have a lot of ground to make up and need to start playing significantly better in order to reach the playoffs.
Avs defenseman Ryan O’Byrne was cut in the face by Hall’s skate early in the first period. O’Byrne had to finish his shift, as play was allowed to continue, before he was taken to the locker room and eventually to a local hospital. All indications are that he is fine, but further evaluations will be conducted tomorrow.