SUN Hockey Pool

Avs surprised themselves

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

The following Colorado Avalanche players didn't score any points last night: Karlis Skrastins, Brad May, Ossi Vaananen, Antti Laaksonen and Marek Svatos.

Hey, it's easier than listing the 13 Avs skaters who did have a hand in handing Edmonton its most humiliating defeat in 10 years.

What was supposed to be a desperate struggle between two slumping teams turned into Stats Night for the Avs, who scored seven times in the first 40 minutes before calling the dogs off their hopeless hosts.

Even they couldn't believe how ridiculous it got.

"Were we thinking that we were going to come out and build a seven-goal lead?'' said defenceman Jean Michael Liles, who had two goals and assist in the first period. "I don't think anyone was thinking that.''

But, having blown three-goal leads in two of its last three games, the Avs kept coming until they were sure it was out of reach.

"That's the best we've played all year,'' said Colorado coach Joel Quenneville. "No lead has been safe with us all year so it was nice. Tonight we were fortunate, the pucks were going in for us.''

GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT

Like Edmonton had a soccer net. But the Avs were as gracious in victory as the Oilers were useless in defeat. There wasn't much they could say, after all, that hadn't already been said on the ice.

"Both teams are wounded, but they played a hard game Thursday night,'' said Brad May, willing to give Edmonton the benefit of the doubt. "It's tough playing back to backers. We were in our beds watching the game when they were playing in Calgary. Clearly there's an advantage when you're resting and the other team is playing.''

How ugly was it? When the teams came out for the start of the third period, with the Avs up 7-0, the Rexall fans booed the Oilers and cheered the Avs.

"I've been there with LA, losing like that, and it's no fun,'' said Ian Laperriere. "We've all been there.''

They can all remember a time when their world caved in around them, too, when they couldn't get out of their own way and couldn't get off the home ice fast enough.

NOT A GOOD FEELING

"It's the (craps), it's a bad feeling,'' said May. "It's almost the harder you try, the harder you look for it the more it escapes you. But they've got a good hockey team over there. We have to respect their team. They beat us to every puck in the first game against them and demonstrated they're a heck of a team when they play together. This is one of 82.

"We've had nights like this, too, everybody is going to have them. There's no need to throw the towel in, they have a good team here.''

Even if they haven't been showing it lately.

"It seems like you always remember those more than the ones where you have a great night,'' said Liles.

"It happens. In any 82-game season you're going to have one of those nights. They're a tremendous team and I don't think this is a good indication of where they're at.''

It better not be. To the Avs' credit, they didn't run up the score in the third period, taking just five shots and resting their big guns.

"At one point Joel stopped sending our first power play unit out there and they sent me instead, to kill the time I guess,'' said Laperriere.

"Hey, did I just jab myself? You don't want to disrespect teams like this one, they work hard.''


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