Avalanche 5, Oilers 2
Stefan Elliott made sure his first NHL game was memorable.
Elliott scored a goal and Semyon Varlamov had 31 saves to lead
the Colorado Avalanche over the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Saturday
Paul Stastny, Shane O’Brien, Jan Heda and Jay McClement had a
goal each, and Ryan O’Reilly, Milan Hejduk and Chuck Kobasew had
two assists apiece as the Avalanche snapped a two-game home
Elliott was called up from the AHL when defenseman Erik Johnson
was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. Elliott made an
immediate impact, scoring the go-ahead goal midway through the
”It’s nice to be able to knock off both of those at once,”
Elliott said. ”It’s something special to score my first goal, let
alone it being my first game.”
Elliott’s goal was part of a four-goal eruption by the Avalanche
in the third period. They trailed 2-1 entering the frame and tied
it with O’Brien’s power-play goal, his first of the season, and
1:56 later Elliot made it 3-2. The defenseman skated along the blue
line before throwing a wrist shot through traffic and past Edmonton
goalie Devan Dubnyk about 8 minutes into the period.
”Right before he shot it I was yelling on the bench, `Why
not?,’ O’Brien said. ”He found a way to wrist it through. Skillful
defensemen can find those little holes.”
Elliott made an impression with his defense, too, breaking up a
potential 2-on-1 moments before scoring the eventual winner.
”He showed good poise with the puck and he showed a lot of
poise defensively,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. ”We had a
couple of big plays by a guy playing his first game in the NHL. It
was good to see.”
Heda scored his second goal of the season with 3:40 left, and
Stastny added an empty netter with 1:53 remaining to seal it. It
was his seventh goal of the season.
Ryan Jones had a goal and an assist, Ladislav Smid also had a
goal and Dubnyk finished with 24 saves for Edmonton, which was
playing its fourth game in six nights.
”I think maybe fatigue caught up to us, probably cost us the
game at the end of the night,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ”We
were on fumes in the third period.”
Jones broke a 1-1 tie when he scored on a rebound 2:24 into the
second period, his sixth goal of the season. But Colorado came
storming back in the third.
”We absolutely collapsed in the last period,” Smid said. ”We
just handed the game over to them. It’s pretty disappointing.”
Smid gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead with his first goal in nearly two
years. Jones carried the puck deep into the Colorado zone and drew
Varlamov out of position. The goalie scrambled to get back into the
crease but skated into O’Brien, and Smid scored into an unguarded
net 2:59 into the game.
The Avalanche got even when McClement scored 1:36 later. Kobasew
brought the puck into the Edmonton zone but Dubnyk made the save.
The rebound came out to McClement, who shot it over a sprawled-out
Dubnyk for his third goal of the season.
The Oilers suffered a blow when left wing Taylor Hall left the
game after sustaining a left shoulder injury in the first period.
Hall, the first overall pick in the 2010 draft, has seven goals and
18 assists in 22 games this season.
He will have an MRI on Monday.
”We’ll see what the MRI tells us,” Renney said. ”Step back
from the ledge, first of all. Just relax and see what the MRI and
the medical staff tells us.”
Notes: Elliott is the first defenseman in Avalanche history to
score a goal in his NHL debut. The last franchise defenseman to do
it was Jean-Marc Richard for the Quebec Nordiques on Feb. 2, 1988.
… Smid’s last goal came Dec. 5, 2009, a span of 124 games. …
The win was the Avalanche’s first against a Northwest Division
opponent in seven games. … Colorado has allowed just two
power-play goals in the last 24 chances. … Oilers LW Ryan Smyth
had his six-game point streak snapped.