Philippe Cornet registered his first career NHL point, as All-Star Jordan Eberle got the ball rolling on a two-goal opening period -- Eric Belanger notched the other, his first in 19 games -- while Devan Dubnyk stopped 31 throughout, propelling the home side to a 3-2 win Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
After a slow stat in which neither team could gain much traction in their opponent's end, the Oilers broke in with the game's best scoring chance 2:30 into the period. Following a nifty feed from Ben Eager, Anton Lander busted in alone and crafted a slick backhand move, but his attempt caught Semyon Varlamov's glove-side post.
But not for long. Moments later and on the Oilers' third shot at 4:59, Jordan Eberle put the home side up 1-0. The team's All-Star selection made a tight turn behind the net, fooling a defending Shane O'Brien; No. 14 then tucked the puck short-side, behind the out-of-position netminder with a heads-up wraparound.
On the goal, the recently recalled Philippe Cornet notched his first career NHL point with an assist.
Ben Eager picked up a holding minor at 6:10, which put the Avalanche's 19.1-percent power-play to work. Devan Dubnyk stood tall, making a sensational glove save off a low-slot Peter Mueller tip to keep his team's lead intact.
The Oilers nearly extended to a two-goal advantage late in the stanza when Ales Hemsky cut to the slot and ripped a wrister on goal, but his blocker-side bullet clunked the post and kept the Avs in the game.
Colorado's TJ Galiardi was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking at 15:48, sending the Oilers' third-ranked man-advantage to the ice. 1:50 into the power-play, Eric Belanger collected a pass from Ryan Whitney and unleashed a mid-range slapper, bar-in, to establish a 2-0 score.
With 20 minutes in the books, the OIlers also held an 11-6 lead on the shot clock.
Just 1:16 into the period, the Avalanche tied it up. A strong, nearly uncontainable pass by Chuck Kobasew connected with Mueller at the doorstep; and, as the 23-year-old tumbled to the ice, the puck pinballed in off his stick and skate in quick succession behind a defenceless Dubnyk.
As the teams skated for six minutes without a whistle, Colorado took a decided territorial advantage. Five shots were added to the visitors' tally, while the orange and blue countered with one as the period's 10-minute mark approached.
With 2:59 on the clock, Jordan Eberle was charged with slashing. Just like the Avs' earlier opportunity, however, the advantage failed to generate much of consequence, keeping the Oilers in front heading into the third.
Through two periods, the Oilers' shot lead was maintained with a 19-18 edge.
Looking to regain the team's two-goal advantage, the Oilers did just that 6:01 into the period. Ales Hemsky drove wide on the rush, snapping a quick shot on goal; Varlamov kicked the rebound into the slot, where a hard-charging Taylor Hall pounced and propelled the puck upstairs into the gaping cage.
In the "he'd like to have that one back!" category, the Avalanche the brought score closer when a Gabriel Landeskog tally made it 3-2 with 9:46 to play. Milan Hejduk's long-range shot was ill-handled by Dubnyk, allowing the Swedish rookie to swoop in and cash on his team's 27th shot.
The Avalanche continued to press, peppering Dubnyk with several in-tight opportunities that just skirted through the sophomore's crease. Alas, the game remained in the Oilers' favour as final minute approached.
Colorado pulled Varlamov for an extra-attacker, but the sixth man provided inconsequencial as the Oilers cruised to the horn in a 3-2 victory.
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