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Avs, Ab even up

Edmonton Oilers netminder Mike Morrison makes a save on Colorado Avalanche forward Andrew Burunette...

Edmonton Oilers netminder Mike Morrison makes a save on Colorado Avalanche forward Andrew Burunette during first period action at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2005. (Edmonton Sun/Jason Franson)

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Call it even.

Mike Morrison made his first NHL start with the Edmonton Oilers in Denver two weeks ago a memorable one, frustrating the Colorado Avalanche and swiping his team two points with a 31-save performance on a night the Oilers had no business winning.

On the wrong end of a 5-2 score Nov. 14, Colorado stopper David Aebischer returned the favour last night at Rexall Place, putting the brakes on a four-game win streak by Morrison and a three-game roll by the Oilers with a 29-save gem in a 3-2 decision for the Avalanche.

Right back at you, Mo.

"He played really well," said Jarret Stoll. "Especially in the third period. He made some saves on some really good chances right in front ... he shut the door and we couldn't create a break. Give him credit."

Beaten five times on just 22 shots in the game that began Morrison's 4-0-0 streak, Aebischer made a goal by captain Joe Sakic - on a giveaway by Igor Ulanov 11:23 into the third period - stand to lift the Avalanche to their third straight victory.

"We manufacture a play out of desperation and it ends up costing us the game," said coach Craig MacTavish after getting zip from a solid night's work by his team.

"One thing we have to have now is the patience and the composure to play in tight games and know we're going to get the win. Then you don't fritter games like this away."

The Oilers had most of the play and nine shots in the opening 20 minutes, but the Avs hit the first intermission with the only two goals, courtesy of Ian Laperriere, on just four shots.

Morrison, boasting a .939 saves percentage coming in, was just .500 in the first period. He whiffed on a low snapshot from the slot by Laperriere that found the five-hole for a 1-0 lead seven minutes in.

When Laperriere fooled Morrison with a nifty move to the backhand for a tight-in tuck to make it 2-0, the Oilers tidy three-game win streak was in jeopardy.

"It was kind of a quick shot," Morrison said of the first goal. "He got it a little bit off the ice five-hole and it squeaked through. He put it in the right place. I guess I kind of want it back, but what are you going to do?

"You put it behind you. The goals are in and there's nothing you can do about it."

The Oilers power play, clicking at a 5-for-26 clip in the first four games with the Avs, struck again as Marc-Andre Bergeron cut it to 2-1 when he one-timed a rocket past Aebischer from the point five minutes into the second.

Michael Peca, without a goal in 14 games dating back to Oct. 28, tied it with his second when he hustled to the net and shoved a rebound of Georges Laraque's sharp-angle shot into the cage at 9:29.

Sakic provided the payback for what went down at the Pepsi Center when he took Ulanov's gaffe - he fanned on clearing attempt up the middle - and buried it high to the glove side on Morrison from the right face-off dot.

"This kind of game hurts more than other games," a banged-up Ulanov said. "We came back after two periods and then one mistake . . ."

AROUND THE RINK: With the loss, the Oilers finish November 9-5-0.


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