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Oilers hold on to top Avalanche 3-2

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers had a pair of great chances to score early on. Horcoff shot the puck into the corner and it took a weird bounce before sliding in front of the net. Budaj went behind to play the puck but Hemsky could not get a stick on it and knock it into the gaping cage.

On the next shift, Nedved crashed the net with a backhander but the rebound went over the net and out of harm's way.

Dan Guite took a pass from Karlis Skrastins deep in the Avalanche zone to break in alone on Roloson. His shot rang off the post glove side behind the Oilers netminder.

Midway through the first, Matt Greene dropped the gloves with Ian Laperriere. The Avs forward got the slight edge in the fight as the two tustled in the corner. Greene got the instigator in the bout, giving Colorado the game's first power play.

Just as the penalty expired, Colorado scored to move in front 1-0. Guite dove to knock the puck into the slot where Brad Richardson fired it low blocker side past Roloson.

Edmonton went on its first power play late in the first after Wojtek Wolski was sent off for hooking. They had several chances to tie the game up with the best being Nedved fanning on the puck in the slot with an open net.

Shortly before that penalty expired, Joe Sakic took a two-minute hooking minor and the Oilers had several more chances to tie it up on the ensuing power play. The best opportunity came on a partial break for Joffrey Lupul. His shot just missed the net.

After one, shots on goal were 11-6 for the Oilers.

For the first half of the second period, Edmonton carried the play. Their best chance came when Torres set up Nedved skating in along the right wing side

Ladislav Smid dropped the gloves with Mark Rycroft midway through the second. Smid held his own in the fight, standing his ground against the Avs forward.

Edmonton finally struck for a power play goal with eight minutes left in the second. After a lengthy delay due to a scoreclock problem, Nedved won the draw back to Bergeron who dished it to Hemsky along the side boards. He then wristed it blocker side past Budaj to tie the game at 1-1.

Roloson came up with some huge saves late in the second to keep the game tied. Wolski had the puck behind the net where he found Stastny in front. Roloson made a great glove save on the initial stop and also batted away the rebound.

Shots on goal after two were 22-20 in favour of Edmonton.

The Oilers ran into some penalty trouble to start the third after consecutive penalties to Nedved and Smyth essentially gave the Avs a four-minute power play.

Colorado had plenty of chances to take the lead during the lengthy man advantage but Roloson was solid and able to keep the puck out.

Seven minutes into the third, shots on goal were 10-0 Avalanche as Colorado started to really carry the play. With Roloson down and out during one particular scramble, Laperriere missed the wide-open net after shooting it wide.

The Oilers were finally able to find their bearings and create some scoring chances after being dominated for a good portion of the final frame and it paid off big time.

Raffi Torres came within inches of getting the puck past Budaj as he tried to bat the puck out of the air during a mad scramble in front. Budaj was able to grab the puck and smother it to get a whistle.

On the ensuing faceoff, Horcoff won it straight back to Greene. He teed it up from the left point and the puck was tipped in front by Smyth.

30 seconds later, Smyth found Horcoff in front for a one-timer from the slot. The puck made it past Budaj's outstretched blocker hand and Edmonton moved in front 3-1.

Colorado ran into some penalty trouble late in the third which impeded their chance for a comeback. However, Joe Sakic was able to spot a loose puck in the crease and backhand it past Roloson with 31 seconds remaining to close the gap to 3-2.

After Pisani hit the post on an empty net with a desperation backhand from centre ice, the Avs skated up for one last rush. Roloson had one more big save in him as he made a blocker save on a bouncing shot at the point from Paul Stastny to preserve the win.
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