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

third period.

”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.