"I've been around the game a number of years and you know that these things can and do at timeshappen," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish after the game. "Hopefully you can just draw on that experience to come back from it."
Edmonton entered the third period leading 4-1 but the Avs scored three times in the opening five minutes to tie it.
Ruslan Salei's shot from the left point at 1:43 of the third hit Grebeshkov's knee on its way to the net and past Roloson to make it 4-2.
Two minutes later, Wojtek Wolski was at the top of the crease where he took a pass from behind the net by Andrew Brunette. He one-timed it top corner for the goal.
35 seconds after that goal, the Avalanche tied it to complete the comeback. Milan Hejduk wristed a shot that beat Roloson to the blocker side.
Following the trio of goals, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish called a time out to help refocus the team.
"The one thing I suspected was they were having as difficult a time defending as we were," MacTavish remarked, noting that he simply told everyone to relax during the time out.
"I don't doubt how badly they want it. They've shown me over and over again their resilience to bounce back from virtually everything all year long," he continued. "It was just a case of getting the patience and composure and trying to frame the debacle the proper way."
MacTavish's strategy paid off almost immediately.
18 seconds after the Avalanche goal, Marc Pouliot took advantage of a loose puck during a scramble in front of the Colorado net and banged it in to help Edmonton retake the lead at 5-4.
"We had two great periods, scored a lot of goals and then the first 10 of the third they scored three right away and had the momentum," Pouliot said. "It was a high scoring game but we'll take it for sure."
With Robert Nilsson in the penalty box for slashing, Colorado had a chance to pull back on even terms but the Edmonton penalty killers did a great job maintaining the one-goal lead.
Shortly after the penalty expired, Sam Gagner took a pass in the high slot from Hemsky and wired it top corner for his second of the game to extend Edmonton's lead to 6-4.
"After the Vancouver loss we just wanted to play more loose and relaxed and have some fun out there," said Gagner after the game. "When the team's going well it's a lot easier to have individual success. There's been some big goals coming from everybody."
Gagner came within inches of getting the hat trick a couple minutes later after a nice cross-ice pass from Cogliano ended up on his stick. Budaj made a great move to get across and knock the puck away.
With just over two minutes to go in the third period, John-Michael Liles had the puck in the corner where he centered it in front. It went off of Roloson and in to close the gap to one goal at 6-5.
While protecting the lead, Hemsky and Gagner rushed up ice on the attack. After Hemsky's breakaway chance went just wide the two fed the puck back and forth with Gagner just narrowly missing on a backhand attempt.
With 10 seconds left in the game, Reasoner had a clear path on the empty net but was hooked from behind by Stastny. The result was an awarded goal to Reasoner, making the final 7-5.
Edmonton got off to a fast start as Ales Hemsky carried the puck up ice on a two-on-two with Dustin Penner. Hemsky used his speed to turn that into a two-on-one and dished it over to number 27 who fired it in for the early goal 50 seconds into the game.
Three minutes in, Steve Staios and Ian Laperriere dropped the gloves for a quick bout where neither combatant got much of an edge.
The Avalanche started to put some pressure on the Oilers as the period continued. Shots on goal were 10 to 4 for Colorado eight minutes in.
However, Edmonton had the next two five star scoring chances. Marty Reasoner and Joni Pitkanen skated in on a two-on-one. Pitkanen fed Reasoner in the slot but his shot just went wide.
Colorado's David Jones took a hooking penalty on the play and on the ensuing power play, Pitkanen was perched at the right side of the net where his one-timer attempt hit the side of the net.
That power play was negated by a penalty to Robert Nilsson.
Shortly after Nilsson's penalty expired, Hemsky made a brilliant no-look pass behind his back to Sam Gagner at the left faceoff circle. Gagner wristed it past Theodore for the goal, extending Edmonton's lead to 2-0.
14:29 into the opening period, Marc Pouliot had the puck in the corner where he fed the puck to Fernando Pisani at the left faceoff dot. He one-timed it by Theodore to increase Edmonton's lead to 3-0.
That goal spelled the end of Theodore's day. He was replaced in goal by Peter Budaj after allowing three goals on eight shots.
At the end of one period, Colorado had a 13-9 edge in shots.
Sam Gagner took a hooking penalty nearly five minutes into the period, setting the stage for Tyler Arnason's goal. Arnason's backhand off the rush beat Roloson short side to close the gap to 3-1.
David Jones took a slashing penalty several minutes later to put Edmonton on their second power play. Budaj made a pair of nice saves, first stopping Stoll's shot from the left point and then extending his right pad out to deny Gagner on the rebound.
At the 9:14 mark, Pitkanen fired the puck through the neutral zone to Kyle Brodziak, sending him in alone. Brodziak's shot went through the legs of Budaj before dribbling across the line.
With 4:09 to go in the second, Ryan Smyth collided with Grebeshkov in the corner and received two minutes for boarding as a result.
With two minutes to go, Brodziak had another breakaway. He elected to shoot five hole but this time Budaj squeezed his pads and made the save.
Shots on goal after two periods were 21 to 19 for the Avalanche.
NOTES: With 16 multiple-point games on the season, Hemsky now leads the team... Sakic's assist on Tyler Arnason's goal was the 1000th assist of his NHL career, making him only the 11th player to hit that mark in NHL history... The two goals scored by Sam Gagner was a career high for the Oilers rookie. It was also his 11th multi-point game of the season.
Colorado forward Ryan Smyth battles for the puck in front of the Oilers net.
- photo by Greg Skafte edmontonoilers.com