Oilers’ Devan Dubnyk stops 36 shots, shuts out Avalanche
Denver, CO, United States (4E Sports) – Netminder Devan Dubnyk showed no ill effects from the neck injury he sustained Sunday, recording 36 saves for his fifth career shutout as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Colorado Avalanche, 4-0, Tuesday at Pepsi Center.
Dubnyk sustained the injury when he collided with teammate Teemu Hartikainen after making a save during their 6-5 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Our goaltending was outstanding,” Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger said. “Beginning with Devan, all the way through the team, they decided to stay in the hunt with these two wins here. Devan was certainly a leader here tonight. His positional play overall was really excellent.”
Linemates Sam Gagner and Marcus Paajarvi each contributed a goal and an assist while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Shawn Horcoff added a goal apiece for the Oilers, who finished the marathon road trip with a 3-4-2 record.
“Finishing our road trip like this is really a very good signal from the team to be able to dig this out after 17 days and nine games,” Krueger said. “We stuck with our principles that we’ve been working on so hard as a team that everybody’s buying into really strongly.”
After a long road trip, the Oilers will open four-game homestand Friday against the Detroit Red Wings. They will play 14 of their final 22 games at Rexall Place.
Semyon Varlamov tallied 27 saves for the Avalanche, who lost their first game after reaching the .500 mark, dropping them to 10-11-4.
The Avalanche, who were impressive in wins over the Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks, have yet to win three games in a row this season.
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 fell down while backpedaling in the Oilers’ end.
Gagner, for his part, skated through the crease to poke in a rebound after 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 goal mouth.
The Avalanche nearly closed within 3-1 at 3:47 of the third period when Jan Hejda scored from the left point. But referee Stephen Walkom immediately waved off the goal, ruling Landeskog was in the crease.
The Oilers made it 4-0 at 6:32 when 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 overall.