DENVER – Adam Foote put on a vintage defensive display in the final moments of his final game before gliding off the ice—and into retirement—on a winning note.
With Foote helping to handcuff Edmonton’s offence, Colorado broke through on a power play when David Jones knocked in a rebound 3:57 into overtime and the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Sunday.
“It was great to get the win for Foote. What a great career,” teammate Matt Duchene said.
Foote, the Avalanche team captain who played through a leg injury, announced Friday that he was retiring after 19 seasons in the NHL, all but two with the Avalanche-Quebec Nordiques franchise.
The hard-hitting defenceman was part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams with Colorado. He was acknowledged with a rousing ovation from the crowd after he thanked fans for their support in a clip from his goodbye news conference that was shown during a break in the first period. He brought the crowd to its feet again with his tenacious defensive play in the closing minutes and again after he was named the game’s first star.
“Thank you for your support, and I love you all,” Foote said in a farewell broadcast over the public address system.
“I’m just so happy to be able to play in that one,” Foote said later. “It’s hard when you play a game when you’re on a team and you’ve got this everything’s about me (perception). My teammates were so great about it. They really supported me, and I thank them.”
Trailing 3-2, Colorado pulled into a tie at 19:30 of the third when Milan Hejduk beat goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a shot from the slot that was set up by Duchene’s centring pass.
In overtime, Duchene sent a shot that caromed away from Khabibulin, and Jones put it into the net with a backhander.
“Duch made a great shot, it hit the goalie and hit me and landed right there,” Jones said. “Duch set everything up.”
Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak, but still finished with the fewest wins (30) since the team moved to Denver from Quebec for the 1995-96 season. Edmonton joined the Avalanche outside of the playoffs, finishing last in the NHL for the second consecutive season.
“You can’t dress up a 30th-place finish by suggesting we did a whole lot right, quite honestly,” Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. “But what we did do is stay with it. We integrated some young people into the lineup. They got an opportunity to play and learn and grow and develop. And we did do that, no question in my mind.”
The Oilers got even at two on Kurtis Foster’s power-play goal at 5:08 of the second period and regained the lead on Liam Reddox’s goal at 12:28. Ryan Jones set up the goal when his shot got away from goalie Peter Budaj into the crease, where Reddox was able to slap it in.
Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly and Philippe Dupuis scored 50 seconds apart in the first period to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead. Getting a feed in the slot from David Jones, O’Reilly drove the puck past Khabibulin at 4:24. Dupuis followed at 5:14, picking up a loose puck in the Edmonton zone and firing a shot from between the circles for an unassisted score.
Edmonton went on its first power play 25 seconds into the game after Mark Olver was sent to the penalty box for interference. The Oilers cashed in at 1:26 when Teemu Hartikainen’s shot off a Colorado turnover got past Budaj.
NOTES: Avalanche players gave their game-worn jerseys to randomly selected fans in the culmination of the team’s fan appreciation day. … Edmonton lost for the first time in three games in Denver this season. … Hejduk has 756 points with the Avalanche, moving him past Peter Forsberg into fourth place on the team’s career scoring list. .. Reddox’s goal was his first of the season following his recall on Jan. 3.