Masked man cometh

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

DENVER -- Ty Conklin got to the Mile High City about 10 hours ahead of Dwayne Roloson and the Edmonton Oilers, but when the puck dropped at the Pepsi Center last night, Roloson was making his 10th straight start and Conklin was on the bench.

It turned out Conklin was sent ahead to sit as Roloson, apparently immune to sleep deprivation and coming off a 3-2 win against Vancouver Saturday, convinced coach Craig MacTavish he was good to go against the Colorado Avalanche - even if his head didn't hit the pillow until 4 a.m.

Roloson looked wide-awake and on top of his game, not to mention stylish after finally getting his new mask in Oiler colours. Surprisingly, so did most of his teammates, who resisted the Sandman and the Avs on the way to an eye-opening 4-3 shootout win.

Zzzzzzzzz.

"These are the times you have to take care of your body," said Roloson, who stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout and made a goal by Sergei Samsonov stand up.

"You just try to get as much rest as you can. When we got in, I got lots of sleep.

"I got six hours last night and two hours this afternoon. When you're a dad, you get used to those hours."

Roloson, 36, stiffed Antti Laaksonen, Milan Hejduk and Joe Sakic to go with 31 saves - the Oilers prevailed after losing their last four shootouts - to put an exclamation mark on a gutsy effort by his team.

"It was a sloppy start," said MacTavish.

"I think both teams were feeling the effects of the games the night before.

"We dug in and we got a couple of breaks and we took advantage.

"More important, we got the monkey off our back in shootouts on three terrific saves by Rolie."

Roloson was left on his own for both Colorado goals in the first period after the Oilers went up 1-0 on a goal by Ryan Smyth.

Andrew Brunette was allowed to stand around and sift the rebound of a John-Michael Liles shot into the net, and it was much the same as Hejduk poked and prodded in a scramble until he coaxed the rubber past Roloson to make it 2-1.

The Avalanche, up late themselves after a 3-2 overtime win in St. Louis Saturday, looked as out of gas as the Oilers in a sluggish second period that produced one goal - a Steve Staios slapper that banked off Karlis Skrastins and behind Peter Budaj to tie it 2-2.

Jarret Stoll started and finished the play on the 3-2 goal as he won the face-off back to Raffi Torres, then when to the net and deflected Torres shot past Budaj 3:51 into the third.

Former Oiler Jim Dowd got Colorado even with less than eight minutes to play, converting in a scramble to get the teams to overtime and guarantee both at least a point.

With nothing settled in the extra frame - Smyth was stopped by Budaj on a partial breakaway in the waning seconds - Roloson and Samsonov closed the deal.

"I think Dwayne silenced a lot of critics with his performance," said Michael Peca. "He made three great saves and gave us a chance to win."

AROUND THE RINK: Samsonov was kicked in the head by a sliding Skrastins in the first period but returned after missing a shift ... Fernando Pisani was cut under the left eye when a Shawn Horcoff pass deflected off the stick of Skrastins in the third period.


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