EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers played a downright ugly game in their home opener, but still managed to steal a win thanks to Dustin Penner and Mathieu Garon.
Despite being outplayed in almost every facet of the game, the Oilers were able to come away victorious in a last-second 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Penner scored his second goal of the game with just 5.4 seconds remaining to give his team the win in their opener.
Penner, who also scored the Oilers second goal of the game in the third, tipped an Ethan Moreau shot past Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj in the dying seconds.
"It felt great to get a start like that to the season," said Penner, who is on the Oilers third line this season with Moreau and Fernando Pisani. "It's something to build on for myself and for the whole team. We have to take the momentum from this win even though we didn't have our best game."
Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers who were outshot 33-19 and lost 36 of 50 face-offs taken in the match.
"That's not the way we drew it up, for sure," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It's nice to be able to win a game when you don't have your best stuff. We were fortunate to win but we will take it.
"The reason we won the game was our goalie outplayed their goalie and when that happens you can get away with a stinker."
Garon, who picked up the win in the Oilers net with a 31-save performance, also admitted the Oilers got away with one.
"That's going to happen in a season. Sometimes you play really well and don't get a win and sometimes it works the other way," he said. "Sometimes it is hard to play that first game. You can be a bit nervous. Colorado had already played a game. It was just good to get that one done and get away with a win the way we did."
Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk replied for the Avs, who are now 0-2 out of the gate.
"It seemed like they were able to get the bounces, whether it was a tip or whatever, the puck went in," Budaj said of the Oilers luck in the contest. "I have to find a way to help the team win hockey games and I have to find a way to make that save when it counts. Even though it's a bad bounce, I have to find a way to make that save."
The Oilers struck first with the man advantage seven minutes in as Ales Hemsky made a long pass to Horcoff at the side of the net and he was able to bat it into the net before Budaj could get across.
Colorado looked to have tied the game up two minutes later when Sakic came in on a two-on-one and elected to shoot it himself. Garon made the original save but the puck went in when Sakic crashed into the net on the play, knocking the puck in at the same time. However a video review determined that there was no goal.
Sakic made up for that goal with one that counted just past the midway point of the second frame. Garon made a pair of big saves before Sakic cashed in on a huge rebound with the Oilers goalie out of position.
Colorado had a couple of glorious opportunities late, including one shot that dribbled behind Garon and stopped inches short, but the game remained 1-1 going into the third.
Edmonton regained the lead six minutes into the third as Penner tried a wrap-around shot after coming from behind the net and it somehow snuck under Budaj's pads and in.
With 10 minutes to play in the third, Oilers defenceman Steve Staios was flagged for closing a hand on the puck in the crease and Colorado was given a penalty shot. Hejduk was selected to take the shot and he took advantage of the opportunity, shooting stick side on Garon to tie the game back up 2-2. Hejduk is now three-for-three in penalty shot situations.
The Avalanche next play on Tuesday night in Calgary, while the Oilers return to the ice on Wednesday when they travel to Anaheim.
Notes: Edmonton was the first team to finish out last season's schedule and the last to begin this one, a lengthy wait of 192 days. ... Edmonton has had good success in home openers of late. The last one they lost was on October 10, 1998. ... Colorado gave the Oilers a tough time last season, winning six of the eight meetings between the two teams. Tyler Arnason was a big part of that success, scoring five of his 10 goals last season against Edmonton. ... It was Avalanche defenceman Adam Foote's 1,000th NHL game. He is the 40th active player to reach the milestone. Edmonton defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky also hit a significant number, playing in his 500th NHL contest in his first regular season outing as an Oiler since coming to the team in an off-season trade with Los Angeles.