Roy ties Sawchuk with 971st game as goalie

DENVER (AP) -- Thanks to an uncharacteristic breakdown on defense by the Colorado Avalanche, the Edmonton Oilers earned a tie and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Edmonton's Ryan Smyth scored at 9:06 of the third period, and the Oilers and Avalanche skated to a 3-3 tie Tuesday night.

Colorado's Patrick Roy played in his 971st game, tying Terry
Sawchuk's NHL record for career appearances by a goaltender. Roy
owns 10 NHL records including most career regular-season wins (518)
and most playoff wins (148).

Radim Vrbata and Peter Forsberg scored goals just 2:13 apart early in the third period to give Colorado a 3-2 lead.

Vrbata scored at 1:28 on a rebound in the slot after Tommy Salo
couldn't handle Blake's long shot. Forsberg corralled the puck in
the right corner, skated behind the net, spun and scored from the
left circle at 3:41.

Smyth scored his 150th career goal, taking a cross-ice pass from Janne Niinimaa.

"Janne made a great play,'' Smyth said. "He froze the defensemen and the goalie and slid the pass over.''

Niinimaa said it was a matter of bad coverage by Colorado.

"I had two guys come to me,'' he said. "Smitty slipped out and was wide open. When two guys come to me, I knew someone had to be open. They made a mistake.''

Edmonton had several prime scoring chances late in regulation and in overtime. Mike Comrie stole the puck in the Colorado end, but Roy deflected his quick shot. Roy also stopped Mike York in front of the goal in overtime.

Salo had 36 saves, and Roy had 24.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said his top line of Smyth, Niinimaa and Anson Carter played well.

"That was the difference in getting a point out of here,'' MacTavish said. "The tie gives us a chance to get back to .500. It was important we didn't get the fourth loss in a row.''

Edmonton is 1-3-2, its only victory coming over winless Nashville.

Colorado remained winless at home. In three home games, the Avs
are 0-1-2.

"We need a whole lot more from our power play,'' coach Bob Hartley said. "The reason we are not winning these games right now goes to our power play.''

Colorado was 1-for-5 on the power play and is 5-for-39 for the season.

Roy said tying Sawchuk's games-played record "is something I'm certainly proud of. Again, it shows me how good a career Terry Sawchuk had.''

Two years ago, Roy erased Sawchuk's NHL mark of 447 wins.

"I thought we were undisciplined at times tonight,'' Roy said. "That gave them a couple of 5-on-3s, and they scored on one of them.''

Edmonton struck first on Eric Brewer's goal at 7:58 of the first
period. The Oilers swarmed around the goal, and Brewer took a pass
from Jiri Dopita just outside the crease and poked it past Roy.

Moments later, Edmonton had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:19 but
couldn't convert.

Colorado's Milan Hejduk tied it with a power-play goal at 8:52
of the second period. Joe Sakic won a faceoff in the right circle,
and Hejduk scored from the slot.

Edmonton got another 5-on-3 advantage after penalties on Sakic and Rob Blake, and Carter scored on a one-timer from the left circle at 11:40.

Game notes
The game was delayed four minutes in the second period after Brad Larsen's shot shattered a panel of glass behind the
Edmonton goal. ... It was Colorado's 350th straight sellout, the longest current streak in the NHL. ... Edmonton begins a four-game homestand Thursday against St. Louis. ... The Oilers wore their third jersey for the first time this season. ... Blake's assist on Vrbata's goal gave him 499 career points. ... Sakic played in his
200th consecutive game.