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GAME STORY: Oilers 6, Avalanche 3

Three early third-period goals, with Connor McDavid factoring in all three, were the difference as the Oilers rallied to top the Avalanche

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

Video: OILERS TODAY | Oilers @ Avalanche Post-Game

DENVER, CO -- Three goals early in the third period, with Connor McDavid factoring in all three, were the difference as the Oilers came from behind to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 on Wednesday night.

Also leading the way was Milan Lucic, who had a goal and three helpers for his first four-point night as an Oiler. 

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Edmonton departs for Phoenix where they will take on the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MST.

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Edmonton came out flying to start the third. McDavid drove to the net and trailing in behind him was Milan Lucic who scooped up the puck and put it past Semyon Varlamov moments before the net was dislodged.

"I thought it was a real good response by our team," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. "I thought after they scored in the second, we had a little lull. The break between the second and third gave us a chance to regroup and right off the bat, that top line of ours goes out and gets a goal led by the captain. You could feel the momentum building from there."

Then 5:25 into the period, off the rush, McDavid made a great second effort to give the Oilers their first lead of the game. The first attempt was unsuccessful but McDavid didn't give up, firing the puck from behind the goal line off Varlamov and in to give Edmonton a 4-3 lead.

McDavid talked about the team's third-period turnaround. 

"It starts with us offensively. We had the puck more. Roaming around in their zone and drew a few penalties. Talbot did a good job and our D did a good job," he said "We stuck with it. We had chances all second period long and our power play clicked. I don't think they broke out clean at all in the third period."

1:05 after McDavid's goal, with Jarome Iginla in the penalty box, the Oilers struck once again to make it a two-goal lead. Leon Draisaitl's shot in the slot found its way between the wickets of Varlamov to make it a 5-3 game.

"We just stuck to our game plan. When you come from behind it's never really an individual effort, it's always the group. You need the whole lineup to come back from a game like this," Draisaitl stated. 

"We got pucks on net. We make the plays we have to make. We got greasy in the paint and that's how you score goals in this League."

Even more impressively, the Oilers only allowed six shots in the third as the defensive side of their game really shut things down. 

"I think they go together. The more pressure you put on the other team, the fatigue factor prevents them from going back into your zone. We did a better job of it in the third than in the first two periods," McLellan remarked. "We have to find a way to make that happen for a full 60 minutes. We were still loose in the first and second periods. Again, it's probably a coach overanalyzing a win but it's our job to make them play as close to perfect as possible." 

Jordan Eberle added an empty-net goal -- his second of the game -- to make it a 6-3 final. Shot count in the game was 41-28 for the Oilers. 

Colorado got on the board early. Only 4:50 in, Nathan MacKinnon blazed down the right wing side and at the right circle dot, he wristed a seeing-eye shot top shelf past Talbot to put the home team on the board first.

Video: McDavid, Lucic lead Oilers to 6-3 win against Avs

Less than three minutes later, the Oilers got that goal back. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pounced on a loose puck and rifled it past Avalanche starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov to get the game back on even terms.

Colorado struck with the extra attacker on a delayed penalty late in the first to regain the lead. MacKinnon spotted Rene Bourque in the slot with a nice cross-ice pass. Bourque made no mistake, one-timing the puck past Talbot to make it 2-1.

The first actual penalty of the game then went to the Avalanche. Jarome Iginla received two minutes for holding to give Edmonton the game's first power play with 37 seconds to go in the period. 

Eberle scored only 27 seconds into the man advantage and only 10 seconds left in the first to get the Oilers back on even terms once again. Eberle pounced on a rebound in front of the net and put the puck inside the post, just outside the reach of Varlamov's glove hand.

After the opening period, shots were 17-10 for Edmonton but the game was tied 2-2.

Only 48 seconds into the middle frame, Puljujarvi took a two-minute penalty to put Colorado on the power play for the first time on the night. 

Shortly after the Oilers killed that on off, McDavid got in behind the Avalanche defence and just missed on his deke backhand attempt. He then set up Puljujarvi in front who was also denied by Varlamov. Moments later, Puljujarvi had another chance in front but was stopped again. 

The second period had a ton of great scoring chances on both sides with Cam Talbot keeping the Oilers in it. However, the lone goal in the period came when Bourque tipped a point shot from Tyson Barrie moments after a penalty to Andrej Sekera expired. 

Edmonton had a couple of power play chances late in the second but didn't score. One of the penalties came moments after MacKinnon was levelled with an open-ice hit by Benning. Colorado's Joe Colborne jumped in after Benning immediately after. Colborne received the extra two on that one but Oilers could not convert. 

Shots after 40 minutes were 27-22 for the Oilers. 

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