DENVER – The Edmonton Oilers went back to basics after losing five straight on the road and three in a row overall.
“Keep things simple,” said Oilers right-winger Dustin Penner. Ryan Potulny and Penner scored two of Edmonton’s four power-play goals as the Oilers handed the Colorado Avalanche their first home loss of the season, 5-3 on Sunday night. “The two things we did were simple,” Potulny agreed. “We simplified our game and got puck at the net.”
Patrick O’Sullivan and Tom Gilbert added power-play goals, Andrew Cogliano also scored, and Nikolai Khabibulin (7-7-1) made 34 saves to help Edmonton (8-8-1) end a three-game losing streak.
The Oilers were 4-for-7 on the power play.
“And against the No. 2 ranked penalty killing unit in the league,” Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. “We probably paid attention a little bit, we moved the puck around and they weren’t quite as sharp as they had been on the penalty kill.”
Marek Svatos, T.J. Hensick and David Jones scored for Colorado, and Craig Anderson made 27 saves. The Avalanche (12-4-2), tied for NHL lead with San Jose with 26 points, opened the season with six straight home wins.
“We put ourselves in a hole with the penalties,” Anderson said. “Too many men on the ice is a mental error, but shooting the puck over the glass for a delay penalty is just bad luck.”
Potulny converted a cross-ice pass from Gilbert to put the Oilers ahead 4-2 at 4:44 of the third period, but Jones answered for Colorado at 7:27 when Khabibulin was caught away from the crease. Cogliano finished the scoring with 3:20 to go.
“Great pass from Sam Gagner to get me the puck,” Potulty said about his first goal since April 3, 2007, at Toronto. “I’d missed a similar chance a couple of shifts earlier.”
Edmonton converted its first three power-play opportunities to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
Comrie sent a backhander past Anderson 23 seconds into a boarding penalty on Svatos, who then tied it for the Avalanche at the eight-minute mark.
“I caught a break when a defenceman deflected a pass,” Comrie said of his goal. “Anderson had to go coast-to-coast to come back when the puck came to me and all I had to do was backhand it in.”
Gilbert’s slap shot from the slot through a screen and between Anderson’s pads gave Edmonton the lead at 14:48, while Ryan Wilson was off for a delay-of-game penalty.
Penner beat Anderson with 58 second left in the period to make it 3-1.
Hensick cut it to 3-2 with a rebound goal at 4:46 of the second period.
“We just didn’t do a good job of killing penalties tonight,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “We weren’t good enough on the penalty kill, bottom line.”
NOTES: Edmonton D Ladislav Smid was held out with the flu. … LW Liam Reddox and C Ryan Potulny were in uniform for the Oilers after being recalled from Springfield of the AHL on Saturday. … The Avalanche penalty kill ranked second in the NHL entering the game. … Colorado D Scott Hannan left the game midway through the second period because of a bloody nose. He returned at the start of the third period. … Anderson shut out the Oilers 3-0 on Oct. 27 in Edmonton.