Oilers 6, Avalanche 4

It went from being another game filled with breakdowns to what

could end up being a breakout game for the Edmonton Oilers.

Magnus Paajarvi scored the go-ahead goal in the closing minutes

as the Oilers used a team-record 56 shots to rally from a

three-goal deficit and beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Saturday

night.

The Oilers originally planned to have Paajarvi a healthy

scratch, but made him active at the last minute when Lennart

Petrell took a puck to the helmet during the pre-game warmups.

”He was probably eating hot dogs already when we pulled him

in,” Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger joked of Paajarvi. ”He

didn’t even get a warmup and he scores the winner.

”It was a big game for us to explode like this and get these

points in regulation time.”

Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky each had two goals, and Ryan

Nugent-Hopkins also scored for the Oilers, who trailed 3-0 and 4-1

before storming back. The Oilers completed their comeback with 1:34

remaining in the third period as Ryan Smyth chipped a pass to a

hard-charging Paajarvi, who had a wide-open net to put the puck

into.

”I got to the rink at 7:30 (for the 8 p.m. game) and was

getting ready for a workout,” Paajarvi laughed. ”I got the call

that I would be playing at 7:55 p.m.”

Edmonton had 23 shots in the opening period, 15 in the second

and 18 in the third when they scored three times. The Oilers topped

the previous team record of 55 shots against the Minnesota North

Stars in 1986.

”It just goes to show what shooting the puck does,”

Nugent-Hopkins said. ”It’s pretty cool to be a part of a record,

especially being able to set one with this organization, which has

some pretty tough records to beat.”

Cody McLeod, Matt Duchene, Jamie McGinn and John Mitchell had

goals for the Avalanche, who have lost four of their last five.

”We got what we deserved tonight,” Colorado head coach Joe

Sacco said. ”We gave up close to 60 shots tonight, which is

something we are obviously not proud of as a group. We need to make

sure we respond the right way from this. Losing is losing and you

are going to lose some games, but not the way that we lost tonight.

It was unacceptable.”

Eberle capped off the game with an empty-net goal, giving the

Oilers their second win in three games.

Colorado scored just 1:22 into the game as the Oilers did a poor

job clearing traffic in front of Devan Dubnyk, allowing McLeod to

scoop up a loose puck inches in front of the Edmonton goalie and

hook it into the net.

Edmonton’s best opportunity to that point came with five minutes

to play in the first period after a flurry of activity in the

Colorado zone when Eberle slid a puck through the crease behind

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Edmonton looked very much as if it was taking over the game, and

then the Avs turned the momentum around in a big way with two goals

in 25 seconds. Colorado made it 2-0 on a poor goal allowed by

Dubnyk as Duchene lost control of the puck while trying to do a

deke on the way to the net, only to see it slide between the

goalie’s legs and in with 1:14 left in the first.

With 49 seconds left, the Avalanche made it 3-0 as Duchene got

it across to a wide-open McGinn on a 2-on-1.

Edmonton got one of those goals back with just 3.1 seconds left

as Hemsky picked up a bouncing puck at the side of the net to score

his sixth of the season on a power play.

The Oilers outshot Colorado 23-12 in the first period and

Nikolai Khabibulin came in to start the second in the Edmonton net.

Colorado made it 4-1 six minutes into the second on a power play as

a deflection on shot by Mitchell had Khabibulin going the other

way.

Edmonton got back into the game in a hurry with two goals in

just under a minute to make it 4-3.

With four minutes left in the period, Taylor Hall was able to

feed it to Nugent-Hopkins in the slot and he scored his first goal

of the season to break a 24-game drought dating to last season.

Just 59 seconds later, Hemsky scored his second of the game with

a highlight-reel move to fake defensemen Shane O’Brien and then

another to do the same to Varlamov.

Edmonton tied it 4-4 nine minutes into the third period as

Eberle was able to pick up a rebound and jam home the puck from

behind the goal-line on a power play. Edmonton came in having

scored only 10 goals in its previous six games.

”If anything, it gives our team a little confidence with our

goal scoring,” Eberle said. ”We haven’t been able to put the puck

in the net and, especially my line, it felt like we cracked the

door open in this game. It was a crazy game.”

Notes: It was the third of five meetings between the teams this

season. They split the first two, with each team winning on home

ice. The teams split their six season meetings last season. …

Smyth and Ryan Whitney both returned to the Oilers lineup after

being benched in the previous game against Dallas. … Defensemen

Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry were both able to play for Edmonton

despite suffering minor injuries at practice earlier in the week.

… Among the missing players from the Avalanche lineup are

defenseman Erik Johnson (head) and forward Gabriel Landeskog

(concussion). … Last year’s leading scorer Ryan O’Reilly

continues to hold out due to a contract dispute. … Oilers forward

Teemu Hartikainen left the game in the second period with a

shoulder injury.