|Ales Hemsky beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the winning goal in the shootout as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Sunday night.
On the night that was supposed to feature the return of Dustin Penner to the Honda Center, it was his younger teammates who stole the show.
Twenty-year-old Andrew Cogliano erased a 2-1 deficit with a shorthanded goal at the 18:33 mark of the third period, while Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky – a combined 42 years of age – scored in the shootout as the Oilers rallied to knock off the Anaheim Ducks by a 3-2 score in front of a capacity crowd in Southern California.
“It's disappointing. We lost a point,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “I think the way we lost it -- on a short-handed goal with 1:27 left -- puts an exclamation mark on it, from that standpoint.
We just seem to be snake-bitten.”
While Penner – who signed a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet with the Oilers roughly a month after winning the Stanley Cup with the Ducks – was booed by the Anaheim faithful every time he touched the puck, it was the power forward who left the building smiling. Penner set franchise rookie records with the Ducks last season with 29 goals and 45 points.
“I didn't know what to anticipate,” Penner said. “You never really fully understand what it is going to be like until you come back. That first period was just a lot of emotions and memories running through my mind. Seeing the Ducks’ jerseys on the other side of the bench and knowing I'm wearing an Oilers’ one was a pretty interesting feeling.”
Hemsky gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead 12:41 into the game, when he used Ducks defenseman Joe DiPenta to beat a screened Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a one-timer for his third goal of the season.
Chris Kunitz tied the game for Anaheim at the 11:51 mark of the second, when he took a pretty pass from Corey Perry and fired a shot past Mathieu Garon to make it 1-1. The Ducks (4-7-2) were held to just nine shots on goal until the game-tying tally.
Perry gave the Ducks the lead 7:53 into the third period with his sixth goal of the season. The 22-year-old received a nice feed from the right corner by Andy McDonald and beat Garon with a one-timer as the Ducks grabbed a 2-1 lead.
Things were looking awfully good for Anaheim when Oilers defenseman Steve Staios was whistled for high sticking at the 17:03 mark of the third. Instead, Cogliano stood in the slot and was able to redirect Geoff Sanderson’s shot past Giguere for his third goal of the season. Two of his tallies have come shorthanded.
Cogliano was more than happy to play such a big role in a win the Oilers (5-7-0) were looking to notch after falling in Los Angeles by a 4-1 score on Saturday night. Edmonton went 0-for-4 on the power play and is a League-worst 3-for-48 with the man advantage this season.
"I think that was a really big goal for the team," Cogliano said. "I went to the front of the net and got a stick on it. We needed this win, having back-to-back games. It was something we really needed coming out of here."
After a scoreless overtime, Gagner scored the first goal in the shootout. The 18-year-old made a couple of nifty moves before mercifully beating Giguere to give the Oilers the edge. Following a Garon save on Kunitz, Hemsky guaranteed the Oilers a second point in the standings when he beat Giguere on the backhand.
Anaheim will look to right the ship on Thursday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Honda Center. The Ducks are 0-3-1 in their last four games, scoring just five times along the way.
“It’s disappointing,” Giguere said. “We found a way to lose tonight. But you build with positives and I think there were a lot more positives tonight than negatives.”
Avalanche 3, Wild 1 | Video
|Marek Svatos of the Avalanche drives home a rebound past Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding in Colorado's 3-1 victory over the Wild.
Such is the case for Colorado, which used two points each from Ryan Smyth (one goal, one assist) and Joe Sakic (two assists) to improve to 5-0-0 at the Pepsi Center with a win over Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the Wild have struggled since getting off to a remarkable 7-0-1 start, as they are 0-2-1 since. Josh Harding made back-to-back starts in goal for the first time in his career while No. 1 goalie Nicklas Backstrom was sidelined again after suffering a groin injury during practice on Saturday. Minnesota forwards Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik also sat this one out with groin injuries.
Smyth got the game’s opening goal with his fifth tally of the season 8:29 into the contest. The power forward completed a give-and-go with Sakic, as he one-timed the captain’s feed past Harding to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. Sakic made the play possible after stealing the puck from Minnesota’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
"If I could ask one guy not to have the puck right there, it would be Joe Sakic," Harding said.
“He's a great player and knows what he's doing. I have to respect that shot, and he got the feed over to Smyth."
Eric Belanger’s power play goal tied the game with 4:18 remaining in the first, when he took a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard and fired a wrist shot from between the circles past Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, who was otherwise solid in a 29-save performance. It was Belanger’s fourth goal of the season.
"I don't want to take anything away from them, but there were not many huge backdoor chances," Budaj said. "The defense did a great job. They cleared the rebounds."
Marek Svatos put the Avalanche ahead for good with his fifth goal of the season at the 15:30 mark of the second period. After Sakic gained control of the puck behind the Minnesota net, he tossed it front for Svatos, who was able to beat Harding with a backhander to make it 2-1. Colorado out-shot the Wild by a 14-5 margin in the middle frame.
"When Joe's on the top of his game like he is now, it makes everybody around him a lot better," Smyth said. "It's nice to get goals when he's setting us up."
Minnesota nearly tied the game with just under three minutes remaining, when Petteri Nummelin skated out from behind the net and tried to roof a shot over Budaj. Somehow, though, the Colorado netminder was able to glove Nummelin’s chance to preserve the lead for the Avalanche.
"I guess I should have gone even higher," Nummelin said. "I had a little more room."
Wojtek Wolski made it a two-goal game with a power play tally with only 37 seconds remaining in regulation. After the Wild were whistled for having too many men on the ice, Wolski one-timed Paul Stastny’s feed past Harding for his fourth goal of the season.
With the victory, the Avalanche are 5-0-0 on home ice for the first time since the franchise moved from Quebec to Denver in 1995.
"Certain things were pointed out going into the season, and winning at home and playing well at home was important," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said.
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire was content with the effort his team gave, considering the circumstances. Without the likes of Gaborik and Demitra up front, the Wild understandably experienced some difficulty generating offense.
"I think we did fine, we just had to do different things against certain guys because of the injuries that we have," Lemaire said. "That's the way it is. When you have guys missing, you need your defense to be its best and play the best they can."
Red Wings 3, Canucks 2 | Video
|With a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night, the Detroit Red Wings have won five straight games and now sit atop the NHL standings.
With a five-game winning streak, Detroit now sits atop the NHL standings thanks to a hard-fought victory at GM Place. Vancouver, meanwhile, dropped to 1-5-0 on home ice.
Mikael Samuelsson scored and added an assist on Jiri Hudler’s nifty, game-winning goal with one minute to play in the second period, as the Red Wings improved to 9-2-1 on the season. Their 19 points give them one more than the Senators.
It was a gritty victory for the Red Wings, who were playing the first of a three-game trip to Western Canada. Detroit visits Edmonton on Tuesday before heading to Calgary on Thursday. On Sunday, it was able to overcome both the boisterous environment at GM Place and the usual solid play of Roberto Luongo between the pipes. Luongo finished with 29 saves.
“It’s always the first period of the first game on these trips that’s so difficult,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They were energetic. I thought they played hard. Luongo always gives them a chance.”
Detroit once again received a solid performance from backup goalie Chris Osgood, who got the start in place of the injured Dominik Hasek. Osgood finished with 27 saves to improve to 5-0 on the season. He avoided what would have been a costly mistake, when his clearing attempt up the middle of the ice turned into a Taylor Pyatt goal that was waved off as the whistle had already blown.
“We got a real break when Ozzie tried to score,” Babcock said. “I don’t know what the heck he was doing.”
Matt Cooke gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead just 5:48 into the game, when he drove to the net and slammed home a loose rebound, but Detroit quickly responded as Tomas Holmstrom scored just 12 seconds later to make it 1-1.
Samuelsson gave the Wings their first lead of the night with 17 seconds remaining in the first period. A turnover in the Canucks’ zone translated into a 2-on-1 the other way, and Valtteri Fippula and Samuelsson capitalized as the latter beat Luongo to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. It was Samuelsson’s second goal of the season.
Markus Naslund tied the game for Vancouver at the 15:01 mark of the second period with his fourth goal of the season. Osgood was able to make the initial save on the Canucks’ captain, but Naslund was able to poke home his own rebound to make it 2-2.
But Hudler put Detroit back in front – for good – with his highlight-reel tally with 59.6 seconds left in the second. After taking a pass from Samuelsson, Hudler blew right past Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler, got the puck on his forehand and roofed a shot over Luongo for his second goal of the campaign.
“Sammy gave me a great pass,” Hudler said. “I had speed, and the ‘D’ man was standing still. I just tried to get it up, and it worked. I’ve been practicing that move every day. Sometimes, you get lucky like tonight.”
Henrik Zetterberg also had an assist in the victory and has notched at least one point in each of Detroit’s 12 games this season.
“It was a hard-fought win,” Babcock said. “It was a great goal by Hudler, and that’s good to see.”
Meanwhile, the Canucks (5-7-0) continue to struggle. They’ve won just two of their past seven games. Both of those wins have come on the road.
Material from wire services was used in this report.