Rocky Mountain low

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

DENVER -- The Edmonton Oilers decided to skip the morning skate yesterday in Colorado.

They obviously thought that absence applied to last night's contest against the Colorado Avalanche as well.

They didn't put up much of a fight against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, and had it not been for the play of Dwayne Roloson through the first two periods, the score would have been a lot worse than 4-2 at the end.

"Clearly we had no jump whatsoever in the first period to start and it was pervasive throughout the lineup," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"With the exception of Joni (Pitkanen), the way he skated tonight, nobody had any jump in the game. Then to compound things, we made a lot of mental mistakes. Then we got frustrated and then looked like a very bad hockey team for two periods."

Apart from Roloson, it was easily the Oilers' worst effort of the season.

Edmonton fell down 2-0 to the Avalanche, having barely found their way into the opposing zone much less registering a shot.

Milan Hejduk, who did not take part in the Avalanche morning skate with stomach problems, scored the opening goal of the night, benefiting from a fortunate bounce in front for an easy tap in.

On the same shift, Hejduk then set up defenceman Brett Clark for the club's second tally.

"We played with more passion tonight, we enjoyed the game a little more than we had in our previous game and we were able to score some goals early," Hejduk said.

"We had a lot of shots, a lot of scoring chances and their goalie made some really good saves. It could have been a lot worse than four goals. It could have been six or seven goals."

Roloson finished the period with 15 saves as the Oilers were outshot 17-3. And that was flattering as the Oilers' first shot came more than eight minutes into the period when Jarret Stoll lofted a 40-footer that Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj had no problem handing.

"It's disappointing, because we were looking to build some momentum," said Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff. "We definitely have to leave this one behind us, that's for sure.

"When you play this bad, it's not that hard to do. We'll go home regroup and we'll get ready for our next game."

The Oilers' best chance in the first period came on a play which didn't register as a shot as Kyle Brodziak was set up by Geoff Sanderson on a two-on-one. The Oilers winger had the entire open net to shoot at but rung it off the crossbar.

In the second, the Avalanche extended its lead as Joe Sakic was left all alone in the slot and ripped a shot through Roloson. Colorado outshot the Oilers by a whopping 43-13 margin.

Before the end of the period, Sakic set up Wojtek Wolski all alone in the slot for the Avalanche's fourth goal.

Roloson got the mercy hook after two periods in favour of Mathieu Garon.

In the third, Raffi Torres snapped his 17-game goal-scoring drought getting a wraparound through the legs of Budaj. Horcoff then made things a little uncomfortable for the Avs, tipping a Denis Grebeshkov shot past Budaj with just under six minutes left. But the Oilers wouldn't come close again.

The win was the Avs 500th since moving to Colorado from Quebec City.

"It was one of those nights - we haven't had too many through the course of the year so far - where everyone was collectively out of it," MacTavish said. "When that happens as a player - there are going to be nights when you don't have your legs - but when everybody doesn't you're going to be in trouble."


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