Talbot’s SH goal lifts Avalanche over Oilers 4-2

Maxime Talbot was simply looking to help kill a penalty. That he

scored a short-handed goal in the process, well, the Colorado

Avalanche certainly won’t argue.

Talbot broke a second-period tie, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 27

shots to lead the Avalanche to a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers

on Thursday night.

”Every time you get a goal on a PK it’s always huge,” said

Talbot, who has scored 16 short-handed goals.

Tyson Barrie, Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene also scored for the

Avalanche, who bounced back from an 8-2 loss to the Oilers two

weeks ago in Edmonton.

That lopsided loss was on their mind.

”We knew what happened last time when we played there. We came

ready,” Talbot said.

Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers,

who finished their road swing 0-4 and were outscored 14-4. They

also were without Sam Gagner after he was ejected in the first

period when he knocked down Paul Stastny with a stick to the

face.

That was a sensitive subject after the game. Oilers coach Dallas

Eakins really didn’t think Gagner did anything that warranted an

ejection.

”I thought it was by accident when that stick came up,” Eakins

said. ”I thought you could see it immediately, when the guy went

down, Gags was concerned. When you mean to do it, you skate away

with a smirk on your face.

”All I was looking for from the official was the explanation.

… Suddenly, everything changed after the Jumbotron showed

it.”

Edmonton pulled goalie Devan Dubnyk for an extra skater with

1:53 remaining, but couldn’t score the equalizer. Duchene added an

empty-net goal with 1.1 seconds remaining. He also had two

assists.

Talbot scored the winner with 1:32 remaining in the second

period with the Oilers on the power play. Edmonton turned over the

puck, Marc-Andre Cliche carried it up the ice, and then fed it to

Talbot, who slid a backhanded shot past Dubnyk.

”The short-handed goal, it’s frustrating,” Eakins said.

”You’ve been waiting the whole game for a power play. The power

play not only goes out and gives them a 2-on-1, the next unit goes

out and gives them a breakaway. The whole bench is shaking their

head. It’s disgusting.”

Varlamov made it hold up throughout the third period, and in the

process vanquished some demons against Edmonton after being rocked

for eight goals on Dec. 5 at Rexall Place.

”Oh yeah. It was a nightmare, especially for me,” Varlamov

said of his last encounter with the Oilers.

Edmonton took a 2-1 lead at 12:10 of the second period when

Nugent-Hopkins sent a wrist shot past Varlamov. It didn’t last long

as O’Reilly tied it by tapping in a pass from rookie Nathan

MacKinnon.

Duchene also had an assist on the play, his second of the night.

He has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games.

Asked before the game about his recent scoring spree, Duchene

shrugged and said, ”I just got back to doing what I was doing

before I got hurt.”

Duchene missed a few games with an oblique injury in late

November and then had a virus that zapped his strength. He finally

feels back at full strength, he said.

”When it goes in, it goes in,” Duchene said. ”When it

doesn’t, it doesn’t, and that’s hockey. You just want to keep it

going.”

Barrie scored on a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period,

courtesy of Gagner’s crosscheck and an unsportsmanlike penalty

against Hall.

Gagner and Stastny were battling after a faceoff when Gagner

used both hands to shove his stick into Stastny’s face. Stastny

stayed down on the ice for a moment before heading over to the

bench, where the trainers appeared to examine his nose. Gagner was

assessed a major penalty and sent to the locker room.

Hall drew an unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the

period.

”Taylor Hall did not say one thing to that referee,” Eakins

said. ”Another player said it that was going down the hallway, and

it was nothing terrible.

”To light up a guy, to put you down 5-on-3, I came out at the

start of the period, after a cooling off period, as we’re supposed

to do as coaches, and was basically told by the ref to … I can’t

say what he said to me. Just looking for simple explanations but

couldn’t get them.”

NOTES: Oilers D Corey Potter finished his two-game suspension

for boarding Anaheim F Nick Bonino over the weekend. He is eligible

to play Saturday against St. Louis. … Hall and Nugent-Hopkins

each had a goal and an assist.