Oilers 5 Avalanche 1
DENVER — Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists, Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 shots and the Edmonton Oilers won their third straight with a 5-1 victory over the struggling Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
Ryan Jones, Shawn Horcoff, Alexandre Giroux and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Oilers in a matchup of the two worst teams in the Western Conference.
Ryan O’Reilly had the lone goal for the Avalanche, who have dropped 15 of their last 16 games.
The Oilers jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period, chasing Avs goalie Brian Elliott from the game. Cogliano sealed the win with a short-handed goal 29 seconds into the final period.
Dubnyk started his second straight game in net for the Oilers and turned in another solid showing.
The Oilers received a brief scare when Gagner slid hard into the boards early in the final period. He stayed down on the ice for several minutes before skating to the bench. He would later return.
Edmonton has already lost three of its top scorers this week with the trade of Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings, along with injuries to Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and rookie Taylor Hall (ankle).
With the outcome long decided, the game turned chippy late.
Cody McLeod and Alex Plante mixed it up near the boards, followed by a brief skirmish between David Koci and Steve MacIntyre, their second go-around of the game.
Koci and MacIntyre watched the rest of the game from the dressing room after drawing 10-minute misconduct penalties.
The two tough guys had quite a tussle in the second period as each landed several solid punches — one even sending Koci’s mouthpiece flying — before being separated and sent to the penalty box to serve five-minute majors.
Horcoff extended the Oilers’ lead to 3-0 when he scored 39 seconds into the second period.
Giroux, who was recalled from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League, then tipped in a shot from Linus Omark midway through the period to send Elliott to the bench.
Elliott surrendered four goals on 19 shots in his fourth start since being acquired from Ottawa for Craig Anderson. Peter Budaj took over for Elliott, stopping 11 of 12 shots.
The Avalanche got on the board late in the second period when O’Reilly smacked in a puck from close range. It was his first goal since Jan. 4.
Gagner played a role in both of Edmonton’s power-play goals during the first period. He put the Oilers on the board early when he slid in and knocked the puck past Elliott. He set up another goal by tapping a pass to Ryan Jones after Elliott wandered too far out of the crease.
The injuries keep piling up for the banged-up Avalanche, who lost forward Ryan Stoa for at least two weeks after he had an appendectomy Friday.
Stoa has spent most of the season with Lake Erie of the AHL. He was recalled Feb. 18 for a second time this winter and has two goals in 12 games.
Colorado did have captain Adam Foote back on the ice after the veteran defenceman missed 11 games with a leg injury.
When the teams met two weeks ago at Pepsi Center, Avalanche defenceman Ryan O’Byrne left after Hall’s skate sliced O’Byrne’s cheek, a cut so deep it needed 100 stitches to close.
O’Byrne has just started skating with the team again.
“Those injuries are scary,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said at the morning skate. “It was fortunate with Ryan that it wasn’t a few inches lower, where it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Notes: Foote moved ahead of boyhood hero Borje Salming for 39th place in games played by an NHL defenceman. It was Foote’s 1,149th game. … Avs D John-Michael Liles tied Foote for most career assists by a defenceman in franchise history. Both have 203.