Edmonton Oilers' Eric Belanger, left, and Ales Hemsky, celebrate Hemsky's goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Franson)
Sunday, February 17, 2013 1:55 am
Oilers use team-record 56 shots to beat Avs 6-4
The Associated Press
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.