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RECAP: Oilers 4, Avalanche 3

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB – Derek Roy scored the game-winning goal in the third period, after Colorado came back from down 3-0 to tie the game, and the Oilers slipped by with a 4-3 victory.

“We got off to a good start and then they battled back,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “When you look at the third period, there were chances traded back and forth. Both goaltenders were making big saves and it was nice to get that power play goal. They kept on coming and Benny made some huge saves for us down the stretch.”

The Oilers took a 1-0 lead early in the opening period, courtesy of a couple firsts. Oilers defenceman Martin Marincin, 23, buried a shot behind Semyon Varlamov at 4:33 of the opening frame for his first NHL goal. Andrew Miller, 26, had the assist, giving him his first NHL point. Anton Lander recorded the second assist. All three players began the year in the American Hockey League together in Oklahoma City.

“That was a great feeling,” said Marincin. “I haven’t scored all season so now I (have) scored and it’s a great feeling. It was good, in my second shift. The whole game I was feeling like I was flying on the ice. That’s great. I am double feeling good for (scoring and) winning this game.”

But who gets to keep the puck, Marincin or Miller?

“It was split in half,” said Miller. “We both have half a puck for our firsts. It was a pretty cool experience and I’m glad he got his first.”

The fast start continued for Edmonton at 5:53 of the first. Benoit Pouliot flipped a pass to Oscar Klefbom and the defenceman sent a one-timer toward the net. Jordan Eberle tapped in the rebound at the post for the 2-0 lead. The tally was Eberle’s sixth goal in his last nine games, and 15th point.

Taylor Hall gave Edmonton the 3-0 lead at 9:36 with his first goal since January 9. Hall missed time from February 2-March 21 with an ankle injury. Hall’s shot sizzled five-hole on Varlamov, sending the goaltender to the bench. He was replaced by Reto Berra. Miller was awarded his second assist of the game for dishing it to Hall in the neutral zone, springing him down the left wing for the opportunity.

With 1:09 left on a Rob Klinkhammer tripping penalty, Matt Hendricks was called for the same, giving Colorado a 5-on-3 advantage. Ben Scrivens flashed the glove for a nice save with 34 seconds remaining in the first penalty, but Jarome Iginla got the best of the Oilers goaltender on a one-timer at 5:22 of the second period. The power play goal, which came after the first penalty expired, pulled the Avalanche within two. Tyson Barrie and Ryan O’Reilly tallied the two assists.

At 10:31 of the second, Alex Tanguay scored to make it 3-2. O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog had the helpers.

The Avalanche outshot the Oilers 19-13 in the second period and 44-34 for the game.

To start the third, the Oilers were down two players with Mark Fayne (shoulder) and Matt Hendricks (back) both ruled out with injuries.

A turnover in the defensive zone gave the Avalanche a 2-on-0 right in front of Scrivens. O’Reilly potted the equalizer behind the sprawling netminder at 4:54 of the third period, assisted by Tanguay. Although Scrivens couldn’t stop that opportunity, he did make 41 saves in the win.

The Oilers had a prime chance to regain the lead midway through the third period when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two shots in the face of Berra on the power play. Jordan Eberle shot the puck at a seemingly empty net with Berra down on the ice, but it was swallowed up.

On the same power play, the Oilers got another crack at it. Nail Yakupov’s pass inside was redirected at the net by Derek Roy. Benoit Pouliot poked at the loose puck but it was Roy who got a stick on it and put it behind Berra at 10:42 of the third for the 4-3 lead.

“Starting the game like that, we knew they were going to have a push in the second period,” said Roy. “They’re a desperate hockey team. We didn’t come out in the second like we wanted to. They had a few scoring chances, a couple of posts and we made good on our chances on the power play. Credit to Scrivens, he made some great saves down the stretch.”

The win puts the Avalanche further behind in the Western Conference playoff race. But the Oilers, although they somewhat embrace the spoiler role, aren’t so much concerned with that fact.

“It’s all about us to try and play our game and try to get better every game and every practice,” said Roy. “I think we’re doing that and sticking up for each other out there and playing hard and blocking shots. It was a good game.”

The Oilers have earned points in five of their last six games.

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