|Milan Hejduk #23 of the Colorado Avalanche tries to push past Denis Grebeshkov #37 of the Edmonton Oilers to reach the puck at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on November 15, 2008. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)|
After Colorado's Darcy Tucker scored the game-tying powerplay goal with only 11 seconds left in regulation, he secured the winner in a shootout to sink the Oilers 3-2 Saturday night. Dwayne Roloson earned first-star honours for his 32-save performance, while rookie Liam Reddox scored his first NHL goal in the game and got the third star for his efforts.
Four shots and five minutes in, Avalanche winger Marek Svatos tripped up Robert Nilsson to earn the first penalty of the game. The two-minute minor would last only 1:45, however, as Nilsson snapped up Tom Gilbert's rebound and wrapped it around Peter Budaj to score his third goal of the season and give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.
The Oilers carried the shot lead for the following five minutes, at which point former Oiler Ryan Smyth put the Avalanche back on even terms. With Roloson on his knees attempting to cover up the puck, Smyth stationed himself in the crease and forced the puck across the line to tie the game at one.
An exciting Oilers scoring chance in the final two minutes of the frame failed to put the club back in front, and the Avalanche countered by drawing a tripping penalty from Ethan Moreau for a period-closing powerplay.
Tom Gilbert reflects on the first period
Colorado started the second period with 1:22 left in the powerplay but the club was unable to take their first lead of the game on the man-advantage. After three minutes of even-strength play, Avs center T.J. Hensick tipped the powerplay tables in the other direction by taking a hooking penalty.
Although Edmonton couldn't repeat their powerplay success of the first period, young call-up Liam Reddox renewed the team's lead at 7:25. After Budaj stopped Fernando Pisani's initial shot, Reddox caught the rebound off the boards, cut towards the net, and deflected the puck off the goalie and into the mesh to score his first NHL goal and put the Oilers up 2-1.
In the final five minutes of the middle frame, the Oilers killed a tripping penalty to Denis Grebeshkov and then headed to the third period on their third powerplay thanks to a late hooking penalty to Svatos.
Liam Reddox talks about his first NHL goal after the second period
The two powerplay minutes passed without a goal but the home team soon went back on the man-advantage when Darcy Tucker was called for tripping. Although the Oilers kept pressure on the Avalanche, Budaj successfully kept the copper and blue from increasing their lead as they approached the 30-shot mark.
Edmonton carried their one-goal lead and a 34-28 shot difference into the final two minutes of regulation -- two minutes they would spend without Pisani and on the penalty kill. The Avs opted for six skaters in the final 90 seconds, and with 25 left on the clock, a second Oilers infraction -- this time to Moreau -- gave Colorado a six-on-three advantage.
The home team was quickly overwhelmed by the desperate Avalanche. With 11 seconds left in regulation, Tucker beat Roloson to tie the game at two and force extra time.
The Avalanche tallied two shots vs. the Oilers' one in overtime, but both goaltenders stood strong and pushed the game into a shootout.
Shooters ruled the first round of the shootout as Wojtek Wolski and Sam Gagner both scored on their attempts, but the goalies then took control. Roloson stopped three straight shots before allowing a goal from Tucker, and because Budaj stopped four straight, the Avalanche came out on top of a 3-2 decision.