Taylor Hall sparks Oilers' offense as Devan Dubnyk thwarts Avs

DENVER -- Goalie Devan Dubnyk kept the aggressive Colorado Avalanche at bay long enough for Edmonton's offense to get in gear.

Dubnyk made 38 saves and rookie Taylor Hall backed him with a goal and an assist and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Avalanche 5-1 on Wednesday night.

The game got off to a rough start when Ryan O'Byrne, an Avalanche defenseman, had his face slashed by the blade of a passing skater as he skated low behind the net some four minutes after the first puck was dropped.

Bleeding badly from the cut, O'Byrne nevertheless 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 first period, Edmonton nevertheless struck first, getting a power-play goal from Dustin Penner on a wrist shot at 14:17 of the first period 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 in exchange for goalie Craig Anderson. A native of Canada, Elliott 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 center 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 moved in front 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.

Game notes
The injury-filled Avalanche have had only one player appear in all 61 games: defenseman John-Michael Liles. ... Liles had his 200th career assist on Hejduk's second-period goal, joining Adam Foote (203) as the only defensemen 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.