EDMONTON – No matter what, one sorry streak was going to end in a battle of the NHL’s bottom feeders.
Ryan Stoa scored the shootout winner Saturday as the Colorado Avalanche snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Stoa scored the only goal of the shootout on a pretty backhand past Oilers netiminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
Kevin Porter and Matt Duchene scored in regulation for the Avalanche (27-36-8), who were 0-9-1 in their previous 10 games and 1-18-2 in the past 21.
“It’s a good feeling,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “To get that weight off your shoulder feels good. The players feel pretty good right now. We can take a deep breath again, go back to work and win some games, put a streak together so we can finish the season off strong.”
It was also a big night for Avs goaltender Brian Elliott, who picked up his first win with Colorado since coming over in a Feb. 18 trade with Ottawa.
“It took a while,” he said. “It’s tough when you don’t get wins. It’s tough on the mind and even on the body. It wears on you a bit. You have to keep positive. It finally came and hopefully, we can keep it going and put together some wins at the end of the season.”
Jordan Eberle and Kurtis Foster responded for the last-place Oilers (23-39-10), who have dropped six in a row and remained the only team officially eliminated from playoff contention.
“I was happy with the third period,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. “I thought we were stuck in mud a little bit in the first two periods. We turned the puck over far too much and had a hard time getting some traction. But we stuck with it and were able to crank it up and take control in the third.”
Renney said his team has shown the desire not to finish in last place for the second year in a row.
“I think that is a noble objective and should still be,” he said. “It’s important that they stay with that. The point swing can be real deadly right now when we play these guys. It’s a four-point night and they are 29th. We’ll see them again. Maybe it will come down to that last game of the season and it will be one hell of a game.”
Trailing 2-1 in the third, the Oilers buzzed around the Colorado net for the bulk of the period and were finally rewarded with four minutes to play. Linus Omark made a great pass to find Foster in front for the easy tap-in to send the game to overtime.
Edmonton had the best chance in the extra period on a late power play, but Ryan O’Marra sent a shot just wide of an open net.
The game had a spirited start as Edmonton’s Ryan Jones and Colorado’s Erik Johnson dropped the gloves for a prolonged bout just 11 seconds in.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead midway through the first when Duchene swooped wide before tucking the puck home for his 23rd.
The Avalanche took the lead into the intermission thanks to a tremendous glove save by Elliott on Foster, who had a wide-open net.
Edmonton tied the game while Cody McLean was serving a double-minor for high-sticking with seven minutes to play in the second. Eberle made a nice move to gain position in front of the net before slipping a backhand past Elliott.
Colorado regained its lead four minutes later as Porter was allowed to walk in alone and slip a rebound past Khabibulin.
Both teams are off until Tuesday. The Avalanche return home to host Columbus and the Oilers travel to Nashville.
Notes: It was the fifth of six meetings between the two teams. Edmonton won three of the previous four including 5-1 wins each of the two games prior. Colorado hosts Edmonton in the final game this season for both teams on April 10. … Edmonton had yet another forward out for the game as centre Colin Fraser was out with a foot injury. The Oilers were forced to use defenceman Jason Strudwick up front with Theo Peckham returning from injury on the blue-line. … Also heavily affected by injuries, the Avs had some good news in that Johnson, who left after blocking a shot in the first period of Thursday night’s game against the Flames, played after X-rays revealed no serious injury to his ankle.