Colorado at Edmonton

Oilers slide past Avs, clinch final playoff spot

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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EDMONTON, Alberta -- Rem Murray wondered if he would ever make it back to the NHL.

Now the 33-year-old is healthy and back in the playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers.

"I wasn't sure I'd ever play a game again," said Murray, who scored his first NHL goal in more than two years Monday night as the Edmonton Oilers clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Murray, a healthy scratch for eight straight games, signed a one-year deal with Edmonton on March 5, returning to the NHL after missing the final 43 games of the 2003-04 season due to cervical dystonia, a nerve condition of the neck.

"It was an incredible feeling," Murray said of scoring his first NHL goal since Dec. 29, 2003. "Hopefully (now I can) get a few days of practice in and feel good going into the playoffs."

Jarret Stoll scored the game-winner with the Oilers short-handed, and Jaroslav Spaced added an empty-netter in the final second. Raffi Torres had the other goal for Edmonton.

The Oilers also prevented the seventh-seeded Avalanche (43-30-9) from moving into sixth.

Fernando Pisani had two assists as Edmonton ended the regular season with two straight wins. The Oilers open the playoffs in Detroit this weekend.

"We wanted to build some momentum going into the playoffs," Pisani said. "We did that tonight."

Joe Sakic and Patrice Brisebois scored for Colorado, which dropped three straight games and four of its last five to close out the year. The Avalanche will meet Dallas in the first playoff round.

"We played really bad tonight, to tell you the truth," said Brisebois, a 15-year veteran defenseman in his first season with the Avalanche. "We better regroup for the playoffs."

Sakic moved into 17th place on the NHL's career goals list when he scored his 574th in the second period.

Torres scored his first goal in 11 games less than a minute into the third period, but Brisebois soon tied the game 2-2 with a redirect after being left alone in the slot.

Stoll's winner came off Jose Theodore's giveaway at 14:46.

The Oilers, having secured a playoff berth after Thursday's 2-1 win over Anaheim, sat seven regulars -- including center Shawn Horcoff, defenseman Chris Pronger, goals leader Ryan Smyth, Ethan Moreau and goalie Dwayne Roloson, who had started 19 straight games.

"I was concerned with the injury factor," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It wasn't worthwhile at the end of the day taking the chance."

Ty Conklin made 15 saves for Edmonton in his first action since March 7.

Theodore suffered his third straight loss despite making 33 saves.

"As the games went on I feel better and better," said the former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner with Montreal who suffered a broken right heel before being traded to Colorado on March 8. "In the playoffs you need a goalie to make the big saves."

The Avalanche had five shots on goal in the first period and finished with 18.

Notes

  • Oilers defencsman Igor Ulanov played for the first time in 22 games dating back to March 1.
  • The Oilers finished the regular season with five players with at least 20 goals -- Smyth (36), Torres (27), Sergei Samsonov (23), Horcoff (22), and Stoll (22).
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En route to victory, Rem Murray of the Oilers checks Bob Boughner into the boards.  (Getty Images)
En route to victory, Rem Murray of the Oilers checks Bob Boughner into the boards. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Colorado (43-30-9)0112
Edmonton  (41-28-13) «1034
Three Stars
F. Pisani
EDM


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
R. Murray
EDM


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
J. Theodore
COL


Saves: 32
Save Pct.: .914

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
19:36Rem Murray, Wrist Shot - Assists: Fernando Pisani and Georges Laraque
2ND PERIOD
12:28Joe Sakic (32), Tip-In - Assists: Andrew Brunette and Brett Clark
3RD PERIOD
00:46Raffi Torres (27), Snap Shot - Assists: Michael Peca and Fernando Pisani
08:38Patrice Brisebois (10), Wrist Shot - Assists: Bob Boughner and Brad Richardson
14:46Short - Jarret Stoll (22), Wrist Shot - Assist: Radek Dvorak
19:59Jaroslav Spacek (12), Empty Net - Assist: Steve Staios
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:59Ulanov: Tripping - 2 min.
14:43Laperriere: Interference - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
03:30Sauer: Holding - 2 min.
17:38Hinote: High sticking - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
12:57Winchester: High sticking - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123OTT
Colorado576 18
Edmonton101214 36
 
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