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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Avalanche

by Travis Knee / Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers had the bounce back effort they were looking for tonight against Colorado. Coming off a disappointing performance against Carolina Wednesday night, the Oilers got back to basics on Friday and were rewarded for it.

A three-point night from Sam Gagner that included two goals was plenty of offence as the Oilers put in a strong defensive effort in front of Nikolai Khabibulin.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

With the Oilers leading 3-1 in the second period, Avalanche forward Daniel Winnik broke in all alone with a chance to make it 3-2. Nikolai Khabibulin was up to the challenge though, stopping Winnik on his initial shot as well as sprawling out to get the rebound too. It was a key save at a key time and helped the Oilers get the win.

55 The faceoff winning percentage for the Oilers overall in tonight's game. They would win 32 of 58 draws.
6 The number of shots Ryan Smyth had in tonight's game. It was the most of any player on either team.
10 This was Nikolai Khabibulin's 10th win of the season. That ties the amount of wins he had all of last season.

Sam Gagner
G A P +/- Shots
2 1 3 E 3

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 E 1

Nikolai Khabibulin
29 28 1 60:00 .966

Semyon Varlamov
35 31 4 60:00 .886

Nikolai Khabibulin
29 28 1 60:00 .966

  Kyle Quincey- D

21:14 - 0 PTS, E rating

  Tom Gilbert- D

23:16 - 0 PTS, +2 rating

Already leading 3-1, RNH would lead a 2-on-1 with Sam Gagner in the dying seconds of the second period. Nugent-Hopkins would wait out the Avalanche defender sending a perfect pass over to Gagner who had the wide open net to shoot at.


Taking his share of heat this season for a slow start, Sam Gagner is certainly finding his stride now. Gagner was involved right from the start scoring the first goal of the game. Gagner would add another goal and an assist in the second period giving him 6 points in his last 4 games.

Nikolai Khabibulin was great when called upon in tonight's game. Despite playing with the lead the whole way, Khabby made some huge saves to keep the Avalanche from getting any momentum going. In all Khabibulin would stop 28 of the 29 shots he faced for the win.

Oilers forward Ryan Smyth was the only player in tonight's game to have played for both teams. Smyth was a member of the Avalanche between 2007-2009 and is now in his second stint with the Oilers.

"Now we can look at tonight as a semblance of what we're capable of and use that tomorrow night going into Calgary"

-- Oilers head coach Tom Renney on his team's bounce back effort against the Colorado Avalanche.

Saturday, December 10  vs. Calgary
  8:00pm MDT (CBC / 630 CHED)

The Battle of Alberta takes centre stage for the second straight Saturday as the Edmonton Oilers travel to Calgary to play the Flames. It will be the third meeting between the teams with Calgary having won both, including a 5-3 win last saturday in Edmonton. The game will be on HNIC and can be seen live on CBC.


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