Oilers battle back for 5-4 OT win over Avalanche
|Edmonton's Dustin Penner out-hustles Colorado's Brett Clark in the final Oilers home game of the season Wednesday, April 7 at Rexall Place. Penner secured three points in the 5-4 OT win over the Avalanche. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Wednesday's final game of the regular season started bleakly for the Oilers after the Avalanche scored three goals in the first nine minutes. But the Oil countered to tie it up and traded third-period goals with their opponents to force extra time.
Nearly four minutes into sudden death, Ryan Whitney
ended the suspense by beating Peter Budaj with a game-winning snapshot. With the primary helper, Dustin Penner
capped a dominant game in which he posted one goal and two assists. Shawn Horcoff
and Mike Comrie scored Edmonton's other two goals, while Jeff Deslauriers
stopped 31 for the win.
Although the Oilers posted an early 3-1 shot lead in the game, the Avalanche quickly countered and dominated. At 4:33, Matt Duchene beat Deslauriers with a quick wrister, followed only 24 seconds later by Ryan O'Reilly's successful rebound redirect.
Edmonton kept steady pressure to make up the difference, but Budaj stood strong and then watched Marek Svatos make it 3-0 at the opposite end of the ice.
While laying claim to land in the Avs zone at 12:16, Penner drew a tripping minor from Ruslan Salei. The home team took 1:43 to test Budaj on the powerplay, but Horcoff made it an impossible test to pass after receiving a cross-crease pass from Tom Gilbert
and tapping it into the open net.
The Oil continue to outshoot the Avs two to one as the period progressed, and with less than two minutes left, their persistence paid off in another goal. After receiving a bang-on feed from Gilbert, Penner broke straight up the slot, faked left, then slipped a backhander under Budaj.
The goal got Edmonton back within one heading into the second period.
Five minutes into the middle frame, Colorado was penalized for too many men and Edmonton benefited from its second powerplay. The Oilers took a while to get going, but at the tail end of the advantage, Comrie sniped the puck past Budaj to tie the game at three.
With eight minutes left on the clock, the Avalanche tasted the other side of the man-advantage when Dean Arsene held on to Ryan Stoa just a little too long. The Oilers excelled on the kill, however, managing one shorthanded scoring attempt and two solid saves by Deslauriers to keep it even.
After 40 minutes, the Oilers held a commanding 28-15 shot lead but, just like the Avs, were successful three times.
The Oilers broke 30 shots in the first few minutes of the third before being challenged with their second penalty killl, but the club kept the white jerseys at bay until Arsene could rejoin the fray.
Two minutes later, the Oil took their first lead of the game. After fishing the puck out from behind the net, Penner fed Cogliano out front, who tucked the puck under the crossbar for Edmonton's fourth unanswered goal and a 4-3 game.
The Avs were desperate to get that one back, and at the 14-minute mark, they did. While swarming the Oilers zone, Matt Hendricks caught Cody McLeod's rebound and slipped it past a scrambling Deslauriers to get Colorado back on even terms.
Exciting scoring chances at both ends, including a Penner-Comrie rush that Budaj stopped with his left toe in the final second of regulation, failed to break the stalemate. The 4-4 game headed to overtime.
The Oilers peppered Budaj in the extra period, eventually attaining 44 shots. But at 3:50, Penner continued to make his presence felt by getting the puck to Ryan Whitney
at the point, who ended the suspense by fooling Budaj with a snapper.
The exciting game-winner sealed a 5-4 OT win for the Oil and ushered Oilers fans into the summer on a happy note.
|Three star selections