<
>

Samsonov scores lone shootout goal to lead Oilers past Avs

DENVER (AP) -- Not even a muffed shot on a shootout scoring
attempt could ruin the spirits of Edmonton's Ryan Smyth.

Sergei Samsonov scored the lone shootout goal on the first
attempt in the tiebreaker to help the Oilers beat Colorado 4-3 on
Sunday night, leaving the Avalanche tied for first place in the
Northwest Division.

After Samsonov scored, Edmonton's Michael Peca and Smyth failed
to get the puck past Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj.

"We needed this one badly," Smyth said. "Right now two points
are better than one."

Jarret Stoll and Steve Staios also scored in regulation for the
Oilers, third in the division -- two points behind Colorado and
Calgary.

"We all know what's going on here and we maintain getting
points, especially teams that are right there with us," said
Smyth, who scored the first goal of the game for Edmonton. "We had
our chances and we still won in a shootout."

The Oilers' Dwayne Roloson stopped Antti Laaksonen, Milan Hejduk
and Joe Sakic in the shootout after making 31 saves in regulation
and overtime. Oilers coach Craig MacTavish pondered using another
goalie a day after Edmonton had beaten Vancouver 3-2.

"My mindset all along with Roloson was that I was going to take
my reads from last night's game and determine how many shots he
faced, what the result was, and his makeup coming through that,"
MacTavish said. "After last night's game, I knew I was going to
play him tonight."

The Avalanche had much more to stew about, missing a chance to
move past Calgary for first place in the division.

"It's tough when you don't need a lot of goals to win and
don't," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we did get
three out of four points this weekend, and we're tied for first
place."

Hejduk, Andrew Brunette and Jim Dowd scored goals for the
Avalanche.

Stoll broke a 2-2 tie at 3:51 of the third period, deflecting a
shot from Raffi Torres between Budaj's pads. Dowd tied it at 3 with
his fifth season, scoring off a cross ice pass from Brad May.

"It was just one of those things you just keep going," Dowd
said. This is a pressure type team they want to go without giving
up on the defensive side."

Colorado spotted Edmonton a 1-0 lead on Smyth 33rd goal of the
season, but led 2-1 after the first period. Smyth deflected a shot
from the right point past Budaj's stick to put the Oilers ahead
1-0. The power-play goal at 4:28 snapped Colorado's streak of not
allowing a goal at home at 125 minutes, 50 seconds.

Brunette and Hejduk scored off rebounds. Roloson stopped
John-Michael Liles' shot from in front of the crease, but it went
right back to Brunette, who snapped it back in for his 19th goal at
6:49.

Hejduk scored at 14:55 after Brett Clark's slap shot from the
right point was stopped. Hejduk skated around a pileup in front of
the net and flipped the puck over Roloson.

Staios sent a slap shot off the left skate Colorado defenseman
Karlis Skrastins' in the last minute of the second period to it at
2. Edmonton controlled play for most of the period despite being
outshot 8-6.

Game Notes
The game was the 100th meeting between the two teams. ...
Edmonton is 5-7-0-0 on the second night of back-to-back games. ...
Colorado hadn't allowed a goal at home since Feb. 28 when Marian
Gaborik of Minnesota scored at 18:38 of the third period. ... Sakic
has a seven-game point streak.