Colorado falls into tie with Detroit for first

DENVER (AP) -- The Edmonton Oilers never saw this one coming.

Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists and Shawn Horcoff added a
goal and assist as the Oilers routed the Colorado Avalanche 5-1
Wednesday night.

"It ranks right up there with the game in New Jersey last year
and the game in Vancouver this year," Edmonton coach Craig
MacTavish said. "Both times we were playing the hottest team in
hockey, we were really struggling and came away with wins."

Igor Ulanov, Steve Staios and Jason Smith also scored in a
three-goal second period for the Oilers, 0-2-1 in their previous
three games. Tommy Salo stopped 14 shots.

"Normally, we play tight games with them," Salo said.
"Tonight, I had one of my easier games. All I had to do was sit
back and watch our offense score goals."

Colorado coach Tony Granato saw things from a different

"That was our worst game of the season," Granato said. "The
bounces weren't going our way, and we weren't doing anything to
create any bounces."

Brett Clark ruined Salo's bid for his 38th career shutout by
scoring in the last 30 seconds. Philippe Sauve's first loss in nine
games (6-0-2) sent Colorado into a tie with Detroit for the best
record in the Western Conference.

Peter Forsberg was a late scratch for the Avalanche because of a
strained hip, and Colorado took a season-low 15 shots

Smyth turned a mistake by Sauve into a power-play goal at 18:43
of the first period. He sent a rebound of his own shot between
Sauve's pads from the lower right circle after Sauve failed to
secure the puck on Smyth's first attempt.

"I never looked at the puck after it stuck by his foot," Smyth
said. "I tipped it, and it went out to the side and into the back
of the net."

Colorado never tested Salo and appeared sluggish from the outset
in being outshot 14-6 in the first period.

Ulanov and Staios scored 42 seconds apart early in the second
period to increase Edmonton's lead to 3-0. Jarret Stoll won the faceoff and sent it back to the right point to Ulanov, who fired a shot over Sauve's shoulder at 4:50.

Staios jammed his own rebound under Sauve's glove at 5:32, and
Sauve immediately was replaced by David Aebischer. Smith scored the
third goal of the period, deflecting a slap shot from the right
point off the stick of Colorado defenseman Martin Skoula.

Horcoff made it 5-0 at 7:22 of the third period.

"That's probably the worst game since we've been here -- we were
flat," Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said. "We were just terrible.
No excuse for it; it was just embarrassing."

Game notes
The 42-second scoring spurt was the quickest two goals allowed by Colorado this season. Edmonton hadn't won in Denver since Oct. 11, 2001. ... Colorado leads the season series 3-2-1 with a game to be played March 10 in Edmonton. ... Avalanche D Rob Blake missed his fifth game due to a stress fracture.