Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/29/13
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers learned a valuable lesson Monday. Listen to your coach. After a morning video session in which Ralph Krueger stressed the importance of simplifying their game -- getting the puck deep instead of trying to dipsy-doodle over the opposition's blue line -- they did exactly that. And it worked. The Oilers rolled to a convincing 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place. "We got pucks in, used our speed to get in on the forecheck, were able to tire them out and we drew a few penalties," Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff sid. "That's what we need to do. It's no secret that our key is our speed." They used it with deadly efficiency, drawing six Colorado penalties and scoring on four of them. The Oilers controlled the first period, spending almost all of it in the Colorado end and scoring twice with the man advantage. Ales Hemsky connected at 15:23 and Jordan Eberle at 18:05. By the time the smoke had cleared in Colorado's net, the shots were 14-3 Edmonton and the Avs were down two. It was Edmonton's first lead of the season in regulation. "It's nice not to have to come from behind all the time," Oilers center Sam Gagner said. "It makes the game a little simple when you're not fighting back all the time." Horcoff added another power-play goal in the second to make it 3-0 at the second intermission. The Avs mounted a comeback attempt in the third period, outshooting Edmonton 24-6. But Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk only gave them one goal, when PA Parrenteau scored eight minutes into the third period. Colorado went for broke late in the game, pulling its goalie with two minutes to go while killing a penalty. It resulted in an empty-net goal for Oilers rookie Nail Yakupov. Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco has seen this movie from his team and is already tired of it. "We have to stay out of the box," he said. "We want to play hard between the whistles, we want to be hard in the trenches, but we have to stay out of the box. you can't take six penalties a game. You're asking too much. "And we'd like to draw a few more. We're second to last in power-play attempts and we have a pretty quick team. "We have to do a better job of getting the puck down low and creating some power-play chances by getting pucks and bodies to the net." NOTES: The Avs were without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who was removed from the lineup after taking a vicious hit from Brad Stuart in San Jose. ... Colorado also was still without Ryan O'Reilly, who is at odds with management on a new contract. ... Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is seeing more time on the Oilers' penalty kill as Krueger tries to broaden his body of work. "He's one of those complete players where you definitely want to get that growth," Krueger said. ... D Corey Potter stepped back into the lineup, spelling Marc Fistric, who played two solid games against Los Angeles and Calgary. Krueger said it was more about keeping fresh legs in a hectic schedule than anything Fistric did or didn't do. "It's more about keeping Corey involved in a week that has four games in it."
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