DENVER – Home might never have sounded so sweet to the Edmonton Oilers after they completed a nine-game, 16-day road trip on a successful note Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center.
The Oilers hardly looked weary while cruising to a 4-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche, who had won five consecutive home games and were trying to move above .500 for the first time since the third game of the season.
Linemates Sam Gagner and Marcus Paajarvi each contributed a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who followed Sunday’s 6-5 win in Chicago in impressive fashion to finish the marathon trip with a 3-4-2 record.
The Oilers, who started their excursion Feb. 25 in Chicago, will open a four-game homestand Friday against the Detroit Red Wings and will play 14 of their final 22 games at Rexall Place.
Devan Dubnyk was solid in goal Tuesday while making 36 saves. He showed no ill effects from the neck injury that forced him to leave in the second period Sunday when he collided with teammate Teemu Hartikainen after making a save against the Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa.
The Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Shawn Horcoff and Gagner.
Horcoff scored on a breakaway at 11:20 after the Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog hit an edge on the ice and fell down while backpedaling at the Colorado blue line. Gagner skated through the crease to poke in a rebound after Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov knocked down defenseman Ryan Whitney’s shot from the top of the left circle.
Paajarvi gave the Oilers a 3-0 lead at 12:16 of the second period. He scooped up the puck in the neutral zone, sped down left wing into the Avalanche end, cut in front of Colorado’s Jamie McGinn and put a shot on goal while skating through the goalmouth. Varlamov made the initial stop, but the rebound popped in the air and Paajarvi batted it into the net.
The Avalanche thought they closed within 3-1 at 3:47 of the third period when Jan Hejda scored from the left point. But the goal was immediately waved because Landeskog was in the crease.
The Oilers made it 4-0 at 6:32 when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored from the slot on a power play after the Avalanche were penalized for having too many men on the ice. It was Nugent-Hopkins’ first goal in 12 games and second in 25 games this season.
Edmonton has won three of four meetings against Colorado, which lost for the fifth time this season in its first game after reaching the .500 mark.
The Avalanche now begins a home-and-home series with the Minnesota Wild, which starts Thursday in St. Paul. The two teams will play on Saturday afternoon in Denver at 1 p.m.