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Oilers rout Avalanche behind Hall's hat trick

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Taylor Hall's hat collection keeps growing.

The Edmonton Oilers left wing scored the fourth hat trick of his career Thursday night, leading his team to an 8-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place.

Hall scored a pair of goals in the first period and picked up his third with 11 seconds left in the game. Ales Hemsky, David Perron, Mark Arcobello, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers, and Ryan Smyth collected three assists.

Nick Holden and PA Parenteau scored for the Avalanche.

"It's always a fun night when you get a hat trick, but for us, to win in the fashion that we did, gives us some confidence," Hall said. "This homestand could prove to be big for us."

The Oilers got off to a quick start, scoring three goals in the first period, after making three changes to the lineup. They called up defensemen Martin Marincin and Corey Potter and center Anton Lander from their American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City.

After opening the scoring on a breakaway at 3:44, Hall and Hemsky scored within 15 seconds of each other on the power play to give the Oilers control of the contest.

"I haven't been in this league long, but I've been in it enough to know that anything can happen on any night against any team," Hall said. "You have to be ready for the opportunity. You just have to come out and play your game. Sometimes you're going to get eight, and some nights you're going to get zero. And [Thursday] was a great night."

Hall put the Oilers up 2-0 at 17:42, one-timing a Justin Schultz pass over goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The goal came on the tail end of an extended two-man advantage. Hemsky then scored at 17:57, taking a pass from Smyth in front and getting around Varlamov.

"We didn't have to chase the game; we had the lead," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "Once you get a couple or a three-goal lead and the other team comes back a little bit, you still have the lead. It's so important to get the lead in this game. Not only getting the lead was crucial, but that 5-on-3 kill was big. You never know when the crucial moments in the game are coming. That was one of them."

Prior to their two-man advantage at the end of the first period, the Oilers killed off a 1:14 two-man penalty of their own.

"It gave us confidence," Hall said of Edmonton getting the first goal. "We're a team, you've seen it, that when we're not confident and we're not playing with poise, we don't look like the same team. And all of a sudden we get a goal, and it just seems like we're skating better and we have that burst of energy. The best teams in the League, they don't need that spark, but at times we do."

The Avalanche had to play without Jan Hejda for the majority of the game after the defenseman left with a leg injury after crashing into the boards midway through the first period.

In the second period, Holden cut into the Edmonton lead at 4:20 when his shot bounced in past Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk off Nail Yakupov's skate. The goal initially was credited to Nathan MacKinnon, who was battling for position in front of the Oilers net, but the scoring was changed on review.

Parenteau cut the lead to 3-2 at 9:28, picking up a rebound in front of Dubnyk, skating around the goaltender and putting it into an empty net. Dubnyk had made the initial save on Gabriel Landeskog, but had the rebound get away from him, allowing Parenteau to gobble it up.

Perron scored at 12:06 of the second to give the Oilers a two-goal cushion heading into the third.

"I'm not disappointed at all. They played well and scored power-play goals, they scored on the rush," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We knew before the game that it's a team that it would be very dangerous to exchange chances with. If they go on the rush, it's their game, and we played into it. We need to learn from it. I was very happy when we came back and made it 3-2. Then we have a 4-on-4 situation and miss the net, and, bang, they go the other way and score."

The Oilers blew the game open in the third, starting with Arcobello's goal at 8:55 of the period.

Arcobello took a pass from Smyth in front and lifted a shot over Varlamov to make it 5-2.

Eberle scored the Oilers' sixth goal at 15:19, also converting a feed from Smyth. Gagner scored the seventh at 18:30, before Hall picked up his hat trick at 19:49.

Varlamov finished with 20 saves. Dubnyk made 33 stops for the Oilers.

"What happened in the last five minutes, we have to look at each other and play for our goaltender there," Avalanche center Paul Stastny said. "Those last two goals are on us. We can't quit on our goaltender like that. He has been our best player all year. Hanging him out to dry like that is unacceptable.

"In the third period, we tried playing chance-for-chance with them, and they have some talented forwards and good skaters. When we get away from our game, we get in trouble, and that's what happened tonight."

The Avalanche continue their three-game road trip Friday against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers host the Flames on Saturday in the third of their five-game homestand.

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