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Colorado Avalanche 3, Edmonton Oilers 4 FINAL @NHL

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Shawn Horcoff got the season off to a great start and then impressively wrapped up Edmonton's first game.

Horcoff, who has moved from third-line center to starter, scored 24 seconds into the game and then added the game-winner with 3:18 to play as the Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Wednesday night.

``I have never really been in an offensive role here before,'' said the 27-year-old Horcoff, who is entering his fifth season with Edmonton. ``I paid my dues.''

Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists and Jarret Stoll also scored for Edmonton in front of a sellout crowd of 16,839 at Rexall Place

``Our fans feed off that energy like no other team,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. ``We're off to a good start.''

Brent Clark and newcomers Antti Laaksonen and Patrice Brisebois scored for Colorado.

Stoll scored on Edmonton's fourth power play of the second period on a one-timer past David Aebischher, who faced 31 shots.

Edmonton was 1-for-7 with the man advantage while Colorado was 0-for-3.

Horcoff, who started the game centering Smyth and Radek Dvorak, set a franchise record for the fastest goal a season when he batted the puck past Aebischer in a crowd.

Smyth then tipped a shot by Dvorak past Aebischer just under six minutes later.

``It was close, but we were always down,'' Aebischer said. ``It was one game.''

Goals by Clark and Laaksonen came in the first five shots at Oilers goalie Ty Conklin, who had a 4.87 goals-against average and .830 save percentage in five preseason appearances.

Brisebois beat Conklin on Colorado's 14th shot of the game in the third period to tie the game 3-3.

But Conklin, who finished with 14 saves, stopped Pierre Turgeon at the side of the net in the final minute to preserve the win.

Fans were treated to a glitzy red carpet at the entrance to Rexall Place followed by a 30-minute pre-game ceremony featuring backlit bagpipers, fireworks and a video retrospective of the Oilers glory days.

``I had chills,'' said Horcoff, who spent a portion of the 17-month break because of the lockout playing in the Swedish Elite League. ``How could you not feel energetic after that?''

Notes: Edmonton G Jussi Markkannen is expected to be activated Thursday, having recovered from a broken collarbone. ... The fastest season-opening goal in the NHL was scored at 10 seconds by Kent Nilsson, then of Minnesota, in a 4-4 tie with Quebec on Oct. 11, 1986. Nilsson is now a scout for the Oilers.

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