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Oilers beat Avalanche 5-1 behind rookie Taylor Hall, Devan Dubnyk's 38 saves

The Canadian Press
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Colorado Avalanche goalie Brian Elliot (30) makes a save on a shot by Edmonton Oilers center Jordan Eberle (14) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Denver, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez) Author: The Hockey News

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Oilers beat Avalanche 5-1 behind rookie Taylor Hall, Devan Dubnyk's 38 saves

The Canadian Press
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DENVER - Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk kept the aggressive Colorado Avalanche at bay long enough for the Oilers' offence to get in gear.

Dubnyk made 38 saves while rookie Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist as the Oilers beat the Avalanche 5-1 on Wednesday night.

The game got off to a rough start when Colorado defenceman Ryan O'Byrne was slashed in the face by the blade of a passing skater some four minutes after the first puck was dropped.

Bleeding badly from the cut, O'Byrne managed to skate off the ice and was escorted into the locker room for initial treatment before being taken to a nearby hospital.

"He suffered a bad cut on his face," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "They had to take him to get sewn up.

"Anytime a skate gets near the face, it's always dangerous and scary. I'll know more tomorrow ... I'm sure he'll be fine at the end of the day."

Outshot by Colorado 13-3 in the period, Edmonton nevertheless struck first, getting a power-play goal from Dustin Penner on a wrist shot at 14:17 that got past Brian Elliott.

"Anytime you're playing on the road, you've got to assume the team at home is going to come with a pretty hard push right off the bat," Dubnyk said. "We've seen that a few times this year. You just want to stay composed.

"If you can weather the storm you can stay in it. And we did a good job of weathering it and then we got that power-play opportunity capitalized on it and we didn't look back from there."

Elliott was making his first start in net since being acquired by Colorado on Friday from Ottawa for goalie Craig Anderson. The Canadian had to resolve visa and immigration issues before joining the Avalanche.

His debut was not easy.

"It's a tough game for him," Sacco said. "He'd been off for a few days.

"You obviously have to get him in there, and tonight was the night we decided to get him in there."

Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff said he felt bad for Elliott, but not that bad.

"It was a tough outing for him but for us, we've had plenty of those so we'll take the ones that go our way," Horcoff said.

The Oilers led 3-0 on a goal by Sam Gagner and a second power-play goal, this one by Hall, who tipped in a shot from the middle of the circle by Jordan Eberle.

Soon after having a goal waved off by officials—the play had been blown dead before Paul Statsny could put the puck in the net—the Avalanche finally got on the board at 17:36 of the second on a wrist shot by Milan Hejduk.

But the Oilers added third-period goals by Eberle and Kurtis Foster to quash any thoughts of a comeback bid by the Avalanche.

NOTES—The injury-filled Avalanche have had only one player appear in all 61 games: defenceman John-Michael Liles. ... Liles had his 200th career assist on Hejduk's goal, joining Adam Foote (203) as the only defencemen in franchise history to reach the milestone. ... Edmonton's Tom Gilbert and Andrew Cogliano played in their 315th and 307th consecutive games, respectively. Both are four seasons into their NHL careers and neither has missed a game. ... Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back. ... Colorado had just snapped a 10-game winless streak the night before with a victory at St. Louis.

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Oilers beat Avalanche 5-1 behind rookie Taylor Hall, Devan Dubnyk's 38 saves