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Avalanche takes 2-0 series lead

May 5, 1997

DENVER (AP) _ Opponents of the Colorado Avalanche have tried to rough them up and have tried to keep up with them. Neither strategy has worked.

If you try to play a physical style against the Avalanche, it typically results in penalties which the Avalanche easily convert into power-play goals. Colorado had two power-play goals Sunday night in its 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

If you try to match their finesse, the Avalanche just have too many skilled skaters and scorers, and they’ll dazzle you just as they did in the series opener, winning 5-1.

Valeri Kamensky and Claude Lemieux scored second-period goals and Patrick Roy had 42 saves Sunday night as the Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 second-round series.

Games 3 and 4 are Wednesday and Friday nights in Edmonton.

``The game was decided by penalties,″ Oilers coach Ron Low said. ``We took too many to beat them. We have to think about how it would have been without guys standing in the penalty box.

``Before the series, we knew they had a great power play. But you really can’t go 5-on-3 with these guys. I think that’s the goal that changed the game.″

Scott Young scored the game’s first goal during Colorado’s 5-on-3 advantage after penalties to Dan McGillis and Drew Bannister. Young scored from the slot at 13:52 of the first period, breaking his 21-game goal drought.

It also gave Colorado its customary early lead. The Avalanche have now outscored the opposition 12-1 in the first period of their five home playoff games this year.

Early in the second period, Edmonton’s Doug Weight stole the puck near mid-rink and scored on a breakaway. But Colorado broke the tie on Kamensky’s sixth playoff goal and Lemieux’s seventh _ tops in the postseason.

Kamensky took a shot from the left circle that deflected off the skate of Bannister and off the back of Kelly Buchberger into the net at 6:39.

Lemieux got another at 11:35, taking a pass from Kamensky across the goal mouth and scoring just right of the crease on a power play.

Rene Corbet scored on a wraparound, outhustling Buchberger behind the net and putting the puck between Joseph’s legs at 9:51 of the third period.

The Oilers, meanwhile, admitted to some frustration at being unable to get shots past Roy.

Roy, who stopped the Oilers three times on breakaways, extended his NHL record for playoff victories by a goalie to 92.

``Our team battled through penalties and got a lot of shots on Roy,″ Oilers center Jason Arnott said. ``He is just amazing now, and we can’t get anything by him. When you get that many shots on net and he stones you, some on free shots, it’s frustrating.″

``We had 43 shots on net and a bunch of really good ones,″ Edmonton coach Ron Low said. ``We put some great shots on him and he made some great saves. That’s the way Patrick Roy is. We have to get over that.″

Weight added, ``We have to find a way to score some goals. We had some very good shots, and he made some very good saves. If he stones us every night and saves 42 pucks every night, they are going to move on.″

Roy credited his defense, saying, ``The guys in front of me played very well.″

``I thought we got a real superb effort from our goaltender,″ Avalanche coach Marc Crawford said. ``Patrick was our best player tonight.″

The game was more defensive and tighter-checking than the free-skating Game 1, with both goalies making clutch saves.

After Colorado’s first goal, Oilers goalie Curtis Joseph made a diving glove save to rob Peter Forsberg.

Roy stopped both Todd Marchant and Rem Murray on breakaways in the period.

Colorado continues to lead all NHL teams in power-play goals, scoring on 15 of 56 opportunities.

Joe Sakic assisted on Young’s goal, giving him at least one point in all eight playoff games.

Forsberg had two assists and now has 11 points in the last five playoff games.

Marchant left the ice in the second period with a broken nose after being elbowed by Aaron Miller, but he later returned.

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