EDMONTON â€” The Edmonton Oilers know a post-season berth is imminent, it’s just a matter of where they will fit in the playoff picture.
Drake Caggiula and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers moved into a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
“We are obviously watching the standings and aware of where we fit in right now,” Caggiula said. “This was a huge two points for our team. Every point is going to be crucial, but with the other teams giving us some help tonight, it was big that we got these two points.”
Benoit Pouliot and Leon Draisaitl also scored for the Oilers (41-25-9), who have won six of their last seven games and are now tied with San Jose and Anaheim at 91 points.
“It’s nice to be in that mix,” Draisaitl added. “We still have a couple of games left. We’re up there, so might as well go for it.”
Laurent Brossoit got just his third start of the season in net for the Oilers, making 24 saves for the win.
“Anytime I can get in, that’s great for me,” he said. “The more experience I get, the more comfortable I am going to be. I’ll take what is given. I understand my role and I understand that (Cam Talbot) is the guy and a big reason as to why we are where we are in the standings.”
Sven Andrighetto replied for the Avalanche (20-51-3), who have dropped five games in a row.
Edmonton took a 1-0 lead on its first shot of the game 1:54 into the opening period as Pouliot tipped a Matt Benning point shot past Colorado goalie Calvin Pickard.
The Avalanche responded just 45 seconds later, however, as Andrighetto fought off defender Adam Larsson and tucked the puck past Edmonton starter Laurent Brossoit.
The Oilers retook the lead midway through the third on a goal from Draisaitl â€” his 27th goal and 70th point.
After a scoreless second period, the Oilers made it 3-1 with 11:14 remaining in the third period, as Caggiula redirected a Nugent-Hopkins pass past Pickard on the power play.
Nugent-Hopkins put the game away with another power-play goal with 4 1/2 minutes to play, his 16th of the season.
“We were kind of chasing the game and tried to push as much as possible and they got a couple of power plays and got some momentum off of that and capitalized on the power play as well,” said Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog. “Against a team like this, especially in the third in their building, you have to be smart and keep your sticks down and that ended up costing us.”
The Avalanche are in Calgary to face the Flames on Monday, while the Oilers return to action on Tuesday when they host the Los Angeles Kings.
Notes: It was the third and final meeting of the season, with the Oilers winning the previous two, including coming from behind and scoring five third period goals for a 7-4 win in Colorado on Thursday. The Avalanche had been outscored 17-1 in the third period in its previous four games coming into Saturday’s contestâ€¦ Oilers forward Jordan Eberle played his 500th NHL game, all for Edmonton. He is the 21st player to hit the milestone for the Oilers.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press