EDMONTON — The best way to bust out of a slump is to take on a team that is struggling just as badly.
Mikko Rantanen, Carl Soderberg and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche were in full control during a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Alexander Kerfoot also scored for the Avalanche (8-6-3), who snapped a five-game losing skid.
“We had a strong game, the last game too. We didn’t get any goals in that game, but today we were rewarded,” Soderberg said. “I think right now, we have been on a losing streak, and we had to do everything better. You need to do that when you’re on a losing streak to get the win.
Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the win.
Barrie’s goal was the 62nd of his career, tying him with Rob Blake for third amongst goals by defencemen in Avalanche franchise history.
“That one is cool because Blake was my favourite defenceman growing up,” said Barrie. “I wore No. 4 growing up because of him, and I ended up playing for Colorado. It’s special.”
Ty Rattie responded for the Oilers (8-8-1), who have lost four games in a row.
“Four games, that’s the first time this year,” said Edmonton defenceman Adam Larsson. “You don’t want to be in this position but we are right now and we have to face it. The next game is really important.
“This is not like last year’s team. We still have a strong belief system in here. I don’t even want to compare it to last year.”
Cam Talbot stopped 12-of-15 shots in 25:06 of work before being replaced in Edmonton’s net by Mikko Koskinen, who turned aside 12-of-13 shots.
It didn’t take long for Colorado’s top line to be heard from, scoring just 26 seconds into the game when Rantanen fluttered the rebound of a Nathan MacKinnon shot past Talbot for his sixth goal of the season and 25th point.
“It’s big, you get one in the first shift and you feel good about yourself,” Mackinnon said. “Those are always good when you get one early.”
Soderberg scored on a long point shot through traffic to give Colorado a 2-0 lead with 4:27 remaining in the opening period.
The Avs added to their lead with a power-play goal five minutes into the second period when Kerfoot was allowed three whacks at the puck from the side of the net before scoring. That brought Koskinen in to replace Talbot, who allowed three goals on 15 shots.
Colorado kept coming with another goal midway through the second period, as Rantanen fed it in front for Barrie, who scored his first goal of the season. Rantanen regained the lead in the NHL scoring race on the play.
Edmonton broke Varlamov’s shutout bid midway through the third when Rattie tipped home a Larsson point shot.
The Oilers remain at home to face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, while the Avalanche return to Denver to take on the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
Notes: It was the first of three meetings between the two teams, with the other two taking place in Colorado… Edmonton came into the game having gone 5-0-1 against the Avalanche in their past six meetings… The Oilers assigned 20-year-old forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Saturday and recalled Cooper Marody earlier on Sunday… Colorado defenceman Barrie also recorded his 200th NHL assist in the game.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press