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Pair of last-minute goals lifts Avs

DENVER (AP) -- The way the third period developed, it was clear
someone was going to walk away embarrassed Tuesday night. The way
they've been going lately, the Edmonton Oilers couldn't have been
surprised that it wound up being them.

Patrice Brisebois and Ian Laperriere scored in the final minute
to help the Colorado Avalanche break a tie and defeat Edmonton 5-3
to extend the Oilers' losing streak to seven games.

"It gets to a point of blatant stupidity on our part," Oilers
coach Craig MacTavish said.

Brisebois, playing in his 800th NHL game, slammed a slap shot
from the right point over goalie Jussi Markkanen's shoulder with 48
seconds left. With the crowd still going wild, Laperriere beat
Markkanen 19 seconds later to make it 5-3.

It allowed the Avalanche to breathe a big sigh of relief,
getting an ugly win after blowing a pair of three-goal leads in two
losses during their most recent homestand.

"The usual," Brisebois said. "We start great and struggle. We
didn't play well without the puck. We are undisciplined. We
regained control and won."

The Avalanche looked ready for another collapse after blowing a
two-goal lead to fall behind 3-2 in this one, giving up a terrible
go-ahead goal to Raffi Torres.

Taking advantage of a defensive breakdown common from the Avs
during their most recent struggles at home, Torres took a pass
along the boards near the blue line and skated unhindered to the
middle of the ice with two defenders doing nothing to stop him.

He flipped a backhander over David Aebischer's right shoulder
early in the third -- a shot Aebischer (25 saves) should have seen
easily, simply because there were no other Oilers anywhere near.

"I had trouble seeing the puck tonight," Aebischer conceded.

A little less than 10 minutes later, though, Alex Tanguay tied
the game at 3 on an equally embarrassing goal for the Oilers --
slapping the puck off Radek Dvorek's stick from behind the net and
in past Markkanen (26 saves), who never saw the play.

"What was his stick doing there?" MacTavish said. "He's right
in front of your own goaltender and you have your stick on the ice
above the goal line. Another mental mistake from a veteran."

Indeed, it added yet another sad chapter to Edmonton's woeful
losing streak.

The Oilers lost 7-1 to the Avalanche in Edmonton last Friday to
extend the streak to six in a game MacTavish called "tragic,"
"comical," and a "stand-alone product for ineptitude."

The coach promised big changes if things didn't improve quickly,
and for most of this one, the Oilers didn't quite resemble the
noncompetitive team that had been outscored 23-8 during the losing
streak.

Still, the end was a debacle -- three bad goals over the final 6½
minutes to open a three-game road trip.

"We have a 3-2 lead with six minutes to go and lose,"
MacTavish said. "We lose by the same stupid mistakes we have been
making time and time again. We are playing with a
junior-league-player mentality."

The Avalanche, meanwhile, weren't in the mood to talk style
points.

"We just didn't want to see the same thing happen that did last
week," Tanguay said.

Game notes
Michael Peca, one of the more notable offseason
acquisitions for the Oilers, went scoreless and stayed stuck on one
goal for the season. ... Dan Hinote missed his fourth straight game
for Colorado because of a back injury. ... Next, the Avalanche play
back-to-back home games against Vancouver, marking the first
appearance of Todd Bertuzzi in Denver since Bertuzzi broke Avs
forward Steve Moore's neck.