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Mathieu Garon stops 37 shots as Oilers hang on to beat Avalanche 3-2

The Canadian Press
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Edmonton Oilers right winger Dustin Penner, right, checks Colorado Avalanche left winger Wojtek Wolski, of Poland, off the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Friday, Jan. 16, 2009. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Zalubowski Author: The Hockey News

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Mathieu Garon stops 37 shots as Oilers hang on to beat Avalanche 3-2

The Canadian Press
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DENVER - Shawn Horcoff broke a tie with 6:35 left, and Mathieu Garon made 37 saves in the Edmonton Oilers' 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

Horcoff scored off a mad scramble in front of the Avalanche net, beating a sprawled-out Andrew Raycroft with a shot into the corner of the net.

Tom Gilbert and Sam Gagner also scored to help the Oilers snap a five-game losing streak at Pepsi Center, and hand the Avalanche their third straight loss. Tyler Arnason and T.J. Hensick scored for Colorado.

The Avalanche pulled Raycroft with 1:24 left, but couldn't slip anything past Garon, who was playing in his 200th career game.

After reeling off seven consecutive wins, Raycroft has lost in his last two starts. He had 34 saves against the Oilers.

Colorado and Edmonton both lost the night before. The Oilers are 6-5 in the second game of back-to-back contests, while the Avalanche are 1-3-1.

Hensick scored the lone goal in the second period, while Ryan Smyth had a shot he'd like to have again.

After Ben Guite stole the puck with the Avalanche short-handed, he cruised down the ice, only to be caught by two converging Oilers. The puck was slapped away right to Smyth, who had a breakaway chance, but sent the shot into Garon's pads.

Gilbert ended a 24-game goal drought, scoring on a power play with 36.5 seconds remaining in the opening period to give the Oilers a 2-1 advantage.

His first goal in nearly two months occurred when he corralled a loose puck in front of the net, then sent it into the upper corner past Raycroft laying on the ground and Scott Hannan, who was crouching just outside the net to try to prevent the goal.

Gilbert was originally picked by Colorado in the 2002 draft, before being traded to Edmonton two years later.

Arnason tied it at one late in the first period, redirecting a shot just out of Garon's reach.

Oilers defenceman Steve Staios scored the first goal, blasting in a shot from just inside the blue-line that trickled by Raycroft 2:10 into the game. It's the second straight contest the Avalanche have allowed a goal in the opening minutes.

Notes: The Avalanche started an eight-game home stand, the second-longest in team history. Their stay at Pepsi Center spans 21 days, but will be interrupted by the all-star break. ... Avalanche F Ian Laperriere missed his sixth straight game with a balky back, and F David Jones was held out for a second consecutive night with a back injury. ... Horcoff has 11 goals this season. ... Colorado was 0-for-2 on the power play in the final period. ... Gilbert had an assist on Horcoff's goal.

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Mathieu Garon stops 37 shots as Oilers hang on to beat Avalanche 3-2