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Craig Anderson stops 25 shots as surging Avalanche blank Oilers 3-0

The Canadian Press
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Edmonton Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov (37), from Russia, knocks down Colorado Avalanche centre Paul Stastny (26) during second period NHL hockey action in Edmonton on Tuesday, October 27, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong Author: The Hockey News

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Craig Anderson stops 25 shots as surging Avalanche blank Oilers 3-0

The Canadian Press
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EDMONTON - The Colorado Avalanche continue to roll on the road.

Craig Anderson stopped 25 shots to record his second shutout of the season as the Avalanche earned a 3-0 victory over the punchless Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Wojtek Wolski had a pair of goals as the Avalanche won their third in a row and fifth out of six. Colorado improved its record to 5-1-2 away from the Pepsi Center.

"I think overall it was a great team effort," Anderson said. "We didn't give them all that much and whatever we did, I was able to see and make the save and the guys were there to clean up the rebound. For the most part we took tha play to them and kept the puck in their zone."

Milan Hejduk also scored for the Avs (9-1-2), who will play games in Calgary, San Jose and Vancouver before enjoying a three-game homestand.

"It was a very good road win," Hejduk said. "We had a good start and really kept the game in their zone. We created a lot of scoring chances. It was a good win."

The Oilers (6-5-1) have now lost three in a row and have not scored a goal in more than seven periods, stretching back to the third period of last Saturday's game against Calgary.

"There is no excuse for the pucks we turned over," said captain Ethan Moreau. "We were stubborn with the puck. We didn't support each other. No goals in seven periods, the easy answer is the turnovers."

Oilers forward Sam Gagner said the team needs to turn its play around, and soon.

"We've got to play better if we intend to be a top team," he said. "Tonight we didn't even show up for the first period. We should be embarrassed to get shut out two games in a row."

Colorado beat Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin on its first shot. Shawn Horcoff coughed up the puck in front of the Oilers net, and it was hammered home by Hejduk for his fifth of the season.

"They got that goal so early, it is like we weren't ready and that is supposed to be a coaches responsibility," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "We lost the opening face-off, then our goalie threw it away, our defenceman threw it away and our centre threw it away. The next thing you know it was in our net. The way they appear to be playing they needed the one-goal lead and then they went to the trap."

The Oilers committed several more turnovers, none more glaring than the one by defenceman Tom Gilbert with five minutes left in the first. Khabibulin bailed out his teammate with a save on a point-blank shot.

Colorado came close to making it a two-goal game with eight minutes left in the middle period as Scott Hannan fired a shot from the point that rang off the post.

That led to a great chance for Edmonton as Gilbert Brule took the puck up ice and cut in on Anderson, but his backhand shot was stopped.

Colorado came close to scoring again six minutes into the third as a shot was lying on the goal-line with Ryan O'Reilly and Chris Durno banging at it before Khabibulin covered up in the nick of time.

The Avalanche finally got another goal midway through the third as Wolski cut in on net and waited for Khabibulin to go down before sliding it into the empty net to make it 2-0.

Wolski was then awarded a second goal with the Edmonton net empty when he was hauled down en route to the net by Oilers defender Taylor Chorney.

Oilers defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky left the game early in the third with flu-like symptoms and did not return.

The Avs play the second game of their four-game road swing in Calgary on Wednesday, while Edmonton hosts Detroit on Thursday.

Notes: Oilers forward Mike Comrie returned to the lineup after sitting out with the flu. ... Both teams have veterans on the verge of rejoining their respective clubs from injuries. Avalanche defenceman John-Michael Liles, who's been out with a shoulder injury, did not play Tuesday but is expected to play on the trip. Edmonton forward Fernando Pisani (back) practised with the Oilers on Monday for the first time since the pre-season and expects to be back in a week. ... By the time the Avalanche conclude their four-game trip, they will have played 11 of their first 15 games on the road.

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Craig Anderson stops 25 shots as surging Avalanche blank Oilers 3-0