Oilers goaltender's effort wasted

Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote battles along the boards with Oilers captain Ethan Moreau during...

Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote battles along the boards with Oilers captain Ethan Moreau during the first period at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo., Saturday night. (Justin Edmonds, QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

DENVER -- Consider it another wasted effort by their goaltender and a simple lack of effort by the rest of the team.

The only player who showed up Saturday night to take on the Colorado Avalanche seemed to be Jeff Deslauriers. The Oilers goaltender turned away 39 shots in a 3-0 loss.

The score was flattering to the Oilers who showed little in the way of try as the Avalanche dominated the contest everywhere but on the scoreboard.

"I didn't like the way we played," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "Our goaltending was superb tonight, but we didn't attack, we didn't play smart with the puck.

"I think the schedule showed up on us a little bit. The travel, getting into Minnesota at 5 a.m., then coming here at 2:30 and dealing with the altitude and all that stuff. At least that's what some people feel anyway, but we were pretty shallow."

The last time the Oilers were in Denver they were humiliated to the tune of 6-0. The game led to a bag skate two days later.

On Saturday night, the only difference was that Deslauriers was on his game early and kept his team in the contest.

Wojtek Wolski scored the only goal through the first two periods, taking a drop pass from Matt Duchene in front of the net and managing to put it through Deslauriers, who got a piece of it, but not enough to keep it from trickling in the net.

"I thought the guys were there," Deslauriers said.

"They had maybe more chances than us, but I thought we had a chance to turn the tide with the power play in the third period.

"But I don't think anybody quit. They all tried to put their best efforts out there."

The Oilers, who lost Sam Gagner in the third to a sore knee, failed to generate much in the way of offence, especially through the first two periods, managing just 12 shots on goal.

Two of their best chances in the game came within moments of each other in the second period. First, Mike Comrie found some room on the left side then cut to the net, but was unable to get the puck behind Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson.

Moments later, Ethan Moreau found himself in the same situation with an identical result.

Anderson finished with 20 saves on the night to record his sixth shutout of the season and third against the Oilers this year.

The Avalanche goaltender has now shutout the Oilers in four in his last five starts against them. Anderson also shut them out last year as a member of the Florida Panthers.

In the third, the Oilers had a chance to tie the game on the power play, but Shawn Horcoff fanned on a rebound attempt with Anderson down and out of the play.

Ryan Wilson sealed the victory with a soft wrist shot from the point, which handcuffed Deslauriers.

Brandon Yip then added an empty-netter.

"It seemed like we were a little lackadaisical in the first period and we couldn't get the puck out as well as we should have," said Comrie.

"We had too many turnovers. But it was 1-0 going into the third period and we felt like we were still in the game. JD (Deslauriers) made some big saves for us, but I don't think we got to the front of the net and didn't generate many chances."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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