Oilers 6, Avalanche 4
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Having already lost the first game of their five-game homestand, and with a nine-game road trip on the horizon, the 11th place Oilers could not afford to let any more points get away from them at Rexall Place.
That's why they looked so desperate Saturday night, scoring five straight goals in the last 23 minutes to overcome a 4-1 deficit and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-4.
This game started going wrong for Edmonton before the puck even dropped, with winger Lennart Petrell being struck on the head with a puck during the pre-game warm-up. He left the ice and did not return, replaced for the game by Magnus Paajarvi.
Then, just 1:22 after the opening faceoff, it was 1-0 Colorado when Devan Dubnyk couldn't smother a loose puck in the crease and Cody McLeod jammed it in to quiet the house.
The Oilers recovered to launch a furious assault in the second half of the period - and were outshooting Colorado 22-10 when the roof fell in.
Colorado scored twice in the final 1:13 to make it 3-0.
Nick Schultz got caught pinching, leaving an overmatched Sam Gagner back to cover a streaking Matt Duchene, who blew right past him, mis-handled the puck on the deke and scored anyway when it slowly trickled right through a confused Dubnyk.
Before they even finished announcing that one, Jamie McGinn capped a 2-on-1 by ripping one over Dubnyk's shoulder.
With the place still in shock. Ales Hemsky provided a ray of hope when he made it 3-1 with just 3.1 seconds left in the period, tapping in a gimme by the side of the net.
Trailing 4-1 with time running out in the second, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a one-timer from the slot (his first of the season) at 15:59 and Hemsky undressed Shane O'Brien and netminder Semyon Varlamov for his second of the night at 16:58 and the game was right back on.
Midway through the third period, Jordan Eberle's power play goal tied it 4-4, then Magnus Paajarvi scored the winner with 1:54 left and Jordan Eberle added an empty netter.
NOTES: Gabriel Landeskog skated for the first time Friday since his concussion on Jan. 26. It's a small step on the road back, but a giant leap psychologically for the injured captain and his Avs teammates. … After leading his team to a 4-3 shootout victory in Minnesota, Colorado goaltender J.S. Giguere missed Saturday's game in Edmonton to attend to what the team is calling a personal matter. … The Oilers are also without their captain as Shawn Horcoff figures it will be another five or six weeks before his broken knuckle is healed enough to let him play. … Oilers winger Ryan Smyth was back in the Edmonton line-up after being made a healthy scratch for the first time since 1999. … Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk started for the 13th time in 14 games. … Oilers LW Lennart Petrell was hit by a puck in the pre-game warm-up and didn't play.
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