Oilers 6 Avalanche 4
EDMONTON — After a rough ride on the road, a return to Edmonton was just what the Oilers needed.
Gilbert Brule, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist as Edmonton came from behind to halt a four-game losing streak, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 6-4 on Wednesday night.
Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Potulny and Patrick O’Sullivan also scored for the Oilers (9-10-3), who improved to 7-3-1 at Rexall Place in the opener of a season-high five-game homestand.
“It was a huge win for us,” said Gagner. “It’s a big momentum boost for us, especially after four straight losses on the road. It’s a good feeling. This is an important time for us with this stretch at home. We’re below .500 but we feel it is a position we can battle back from. Hopefully we can keep on moving forward.”
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said he was pleased to see his team battle back.
“Our guys have accepted losses a few times,” he said. “There’s been an ‘Oh, well, we played hard’ response. But we decided to get going later in the game. We had a lot of verve later on. We were in a hole again and it was pretty easy to feel sorry for ourselves but we worked our way out of it.”
Milan Hejduk had a pair of goals and David Jones and Kyle Cumiskey also replied for the Avalanche (13-6-3), who have lost four of their last five after a hot start to the season.
“When you have a 4-3 lead going into the third on the road, you have to find a way to win that game,” said Avalanche coach Joe Sacco.
“Those are the ones you have to put away and we didn’t do that. You’re also not going to win many games getting 18 shots on goal.”
Trailing 4-3 after the second, Edmonton rallied to tie the game less than three minutes into the third as Potulny scored a power-play goal off of a big rebound.
The Oilers took their first lead of the night with eight minutes to play when Brule stole a puck behind the net and tried a wraparound. The rebound slid to O’Sullivan, who put the puck between the legs of Colorado goalie Peter Budaj.
Hemsky added an empty-netter.
The Avalanche struck first nearly nine minutes into the opening period. Hejduk brushed aside Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert at the side of the net and spun around to slide the puck under Edmonton starter Jeff Deslauriers with the teams playing four aside.
The Oilers tied it up with three minutes left in the first, as Hemsky’s shot trickled through the pads of Budaj and Horcoff poked it in.
Colorado regained the lead less than two minutes later as Hejduk scored his second of the game and 10th of the season, banking a puck in of the skates of O’Sullivan to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes. Chris Durno picked up his first NHL point with an assist on the play.
Edmonton evened things up again just 21 seconds into the second, as Brule’s slapshot from the top of the circle handcuffed Budaj. But again the Avalanche responded, this time on a power play less than a minute later as Jones lifted a wrist shot over Deslauriers’ shoulder for a 3-2 lead.
Just one minute after Hemsky missed a wide-open net, the Avs extended their lead to two goals as Cumiskey froze Deslauriers and picked the top corner.
Edmonton survived a pair of Colorado two-man advantages to stay in the game, and were rewarded with just 16 seconds to go in the second period. A big rebound off a Lubomir Visnovsky shot came out the other side to Gagner, who whacked the puck into the empty net to make it 4-3 Avs.
It was the first game this season that Edmonton had won after out-shooting an opponent, finishing with a 33-18 advantage.