EDMONTON – Another night, another missed opportunity for the Edmonton Oilers.
John-Michael Liles scored 42 seconds into overtime as the Colorado Avalanche continued to play spoiler, defeating Edmonton 3-2 Saturday night for their second straight win.
Robert Nilsson and Sheldon Souray had the goals for the Oilers (32-27-9), who suffered their third consecutive overtime loss to drop from seventh in the West to a tie for eighth with the Nashville Predators.
“It was just a missed opportunity early,” said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. “We had a great opportunity to win the game early but after that it was just poor play-making. We didn’t make enough plays from breakouts on through. And the face-offs, it’s hard to sustain anything when you can’t win those.
“It’s a point but it wasn’t a great effort.”
The Oilers have now suffered overtime losses the past four times they’ve gone past regulation, a trend that forward Kyle Brodziak worries could come back to haunt them.
“When you’re not scoring goals in overtime you at least have to shut them down to get into a shootout,” said Brodziak. “Losing four in a row in overtime is definitely frustrating.
“We’ve had plenty of opportunity to put ourselves in a better position then we are now, we should be comfortably in the playoffs, which is where we want to be.”
Darcy Tucker and Paul Stastny also scored for the Avalanche (31-37-1), who were coming off a win over the playoff-contending Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Saturday’s win moved Colorado out of the Western Conference basement, one point up on the Phoenix Coyotes.
“We’re not looking at it as being spoilers right now, we’re just looking to win as many games as we can,” said Colorado head coach Tony Granato. “We’re not worried about who we are playing or where they are in the standings, we’re worried about wining the games and still trying to climb as high as we can and play as hard as we can all the way to the end.”
Edmonton hit the scoreboard first at the three-minute mark of the first period. Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj allowed a big rebound on a Nilsson shot that was then inadvertently kicked in by teammate Brett Clark for an own goal.
The Oilers had a great chance to pad the lead moments later as Ales Hemsky went in on a breakaway, but Budaj came up with the big stop.
The Avalanche tied it up with five minutes to play in the first with a power-play goal as Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson made a pair of saves before Tucker slipped it in from the side of the net.
Colorado took a 2-1 lead four minutes into the third on another man advantage as Stastny avoided a hip check from Denis Grebeshkov and rifled a shot off the far post and in.
Edmonton tied it up with 5:20 left in regulation as Souray unloaded a fierce slap shot that blew past Budaj stick-side.
Notes: Veteran defenceman Adam Foote was not in the Colorado lineup after Minnesota agitator Cal Clutterbuck drilled him on Thursday. Foote suffered a head injury that will keep him out for Sunday’s game in Vancouver as well. The Avs also lost winger Cody McCormick on the same play as he came to Foote’s defence with a cross-check on Clutterbuck that earned him a two-game suspension. … Winger Cody McLeod suited up for the Avalanche after missing three games with a sore shoulder. … The Oilers were without defenceman Ladislav Smid, who fell ill earlier in the day. Call-up Theo Peckham took his place. … The Avalanche have now played in 37 one-goal games this season, giving them the league lead in the category.