Oilers wrap road trip with 3-2 win
|Colorado's Milan Hejduk takes a shot against Edmonton's Mathieu Garon at the Pepsi Center on January 16, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Although the Avalanche tied things up twice through two periods, a slick goal by Shawn Horcoff
in the final seven minutes of the game secured a road-trip-ending 3-2 win for the Oilers in Colorado Friday night. Steve Staios and Tom Gilbert
scored Edmonton's first two goals, while goalie Mathieu Garon made 37 saves for his sixth win of the season.
Two minutes into the game, Garon made an awkward save on a bouncing puck that flew straight up in the air and landed on top of him. Moments later at the opposite end of the ice, Steve Staios' slapshot soared through traffic and past Avs 'tender Andrew Raycroft to put the Oilers up 1-0.
Edmonton continued to dominate the play following the goal, assuming a 6-1 shot lead by the five-minute mark. A short battle between Marc Pouliot and John-Michael Liles then brought life to the stands and the Avalanche, as the home team used the following face-offs to thoroughly test Garon.
As the Oilers hit 15 shots in the period's final minutes, the Avalanche posted their ninth -- and their first goal. From the top of the face-off circle, Tyler Arnason tipped in Liles' slap shot from the top of the face-off circle to tie the game at one.
But a late Avalanche bench minor for too many men gave the Oilers the edge required to regain their lead. Although Raycroft stopped Sheldon Souray
's initial shot, fellow blueliner Tom Gilbert
caught the rebound, patiently carried it off to the side, and then fooled the goalie with a high sharp-angle shot to put Edmonton up 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
36 seconds into the second period, Andrew Cogliano
took a holding penalty and the Avalanche benefited from their first powerplay of the game. Despite firing four shots on net during the man-advantage, Colorado couldn't beat Garon and continued to trail by one.
The powerplay inspired the home team and, as a result, the Oilers saw their significant first-period shot lead disappear by the period's midway point.
With 7:32 left on the clock, the Avs got back on even terms with their 21st shot. After carrying the puck through the neutral zone and up the right wing, T.J. Hensick beat Garon with a short-side wrist-shot to tie the game 2-2.
A late holding the stick penalty to Colorado's Chris Stewart offered Edmonton their second powerplay, but solid goaltending from Raycroft -- combined with a pair of dangerous shorthanded scoring chances by his penalty killers -- kept a go-ahead goal off the clock heading into the third period.
After firing the first two shots of the final frame, the Oilers were sent back on the penalty kill when Sam Gagner
took a hooking penalty. The club killed that infraction, but shortly after the return of five-on-five, a near breakaway by Stewart required desperate action from defenceman Ladislav Smid
, resulting in another Oilers infraction.
Thankfully for the Oil, a slashing penalty to former teammate Ryan Smyth negated the final quarter of the Avs powerplay and eventually put the visitors on their third man-advantage. A fourth opportunity arose shortly after the third, but the club was unable to tally their second powerplay goal of the game.
When facing five skaters, however, they got the job done. With Raycroft scrambling to get back into position, Denis Grebeshkov caught the puck, snaked in on goal, and then quickly passed to Horcoff, who wristed home the go-ahead goal with 6:35 left in regulation.
The Avs toed the 40-shot mark and pulled Raycroft for six skaters in the final minute of the game. But Garon resisted the swarm and made his 37th save to secure a 3-2 win for the Oilers Friday night.
|Three star selections