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Oilers hold off Avs for 3-2 win @NHL
The Edmonton Oilers kept the Colorado Avalanche playing catch-up all night -- and the Avs never managed to get even.

Jordan Eberle and Eric Belanger scored in the first period, Taylor Hall added a goal in the third and the Oilers hung on to beat the struggling Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at Rexall Place on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to get that one and hold on in the end," said Hall, whose goal at 6:01 of the third period wound up as the game-winner. "Nice to get the win."

The Oilers (19-26-5) are 2-0-1 in their last three games after losing eight of nine. They handed the Avs their third consecutive loss and kept Colorado from passing Minnesota for eighth place in the Western Conference.

Edmonton nearly scored three minutes into the game when Anton Lander beat Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway but hit the post. However, they made it 1-0 at 4:59 when Eberle swung around from behind the net and used his second whack to stuff the puck between the post and Varlamov's skate. Philippe Cornet, called up from AHL Oklahoma City earlier in the day, earned an assist in the second shift of his NHL debut.

"A first point was more than I was expecting; I was on a great line," Cornet said. Just wanted to get out there and have fun."

"He did good things with the puck and didn't get himself or us in trouble," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "He was responsible."

Edmonton's Ales Hemsky rang another post with five minutes left in the period, but the Oilers kept pressing, got a four-minute power play when T.J. Galiardi was called for a high-sticking double minor and made it 2-0 at 17:37 when Belanger beat Varlamov from the top of the circle for only his second goal of the season.

"It wasn't a good start for us -- not the way we wanted to come out," Avs coach Joe Sacco said. "It's real tough to play catch-up in this League; get yourself down a couple of goals, that's not the situation you want to find yourself in."

The Avalanche made it 2-1 at 1:16 of the second period when Chuck Kobasew threw the puck through the crease and Peter Mueller was able to whack it in for his fourth of the season. Ryan O'Byrne nearly tied it two minutes later when he beat Devan Dubnyk but hit the post.

Hall made it 3-1 when he banged a long rebound for his 17th of the season after Varlamov stopped Hemsky's shot. The Avs cut the deficit to one goal again with 9:46 left when rookie Gabriel Landeskog got to the rebound of Milan Hedjuk's shot and lifted it home with Dubnyk out of position.

"As the game progressed, I thought we got a little bit better," Sacco said. "But it was a little bit too little, too late."
But Dubnyk made perhaps the best of his 31 saves when he robbed Ryan O'Reilly with his glove at the side of the net with two minutes to play.

"We battled there at the end," Sacco said, "We just couldn't get it done.

"This is playoff hockey for us right now, and we need to have more urgency from the start. You have to be ready from the start in this League. There are no excuses."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
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