Friday, December 20, 2013
DENVER (AP) — Maxime Talbot was simply looking to help kill a penalty. That he scored a short-handed goal in the process, well, the Colorado Avalanche certainly won't argue.
Talbot broke a second-period tie, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 shots to lead the Avalanche to a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
"Every time you get a goal on a PK it's always huge," said Talbot, who has scored 16 short-handed goals.
Tyson Barrie, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene also scored for the Avalanche, who bounced back from an 8-2 loss to the Oilers two weeks ago in Edmonton.
That lopsided loss was on their mind.
"We knew what happened last time when we played there. We came ready," Talbot said.
Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, who finished their road swing 0-4 and were outscored 14-4. They also were without Sam Gagner after he was ejected in the first period when he knocked down Paul Stastny with a stick to the face.
That was a sensitive subject after the game. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins really didn't think Gagner did anything that warranted an ejection.
"I thought it was by accident when that stick came up," Eakins said. "I thought you could see it immediately, when the guy went down, Gags was concerned. When you mean to do it, you skate away with a smirk on your face.
"All I was looking for from the official was the explanation. ... Suddenly, everything changed after the Jumbotron showed it."
Edmonton pulled goalie Devan Dubnyk for an extra skater with 1:53 remaining, but couldn't score the equalizer. Duchene added an empty-net goal with 1.1 seconds remaining. He also had two assists.
Talbot scored the winner with 1:32 remaining in the second period with the Oilers on the power play. Edmonton turned over the puck, Marc-Andre Cliche carried it up the ice, and then fed it to Talbot, who slid a backhanded shot past Dubnyk.
"The short-handed goal, it's frustrating," Eakins said. "You've been waiting the whole game for a power play. The power play not only goes out and gives them a 2-on-1, the next unit goes out and gives them a breakaway. The whole bench is shaking their head. It's disgusting."
Varlamov made it hold up throughout the third period, and in the process vanquished some demons against Edmonton after being rocked for eight goals on Dec. 5 at Rexall Place.
"Oh yeah. It was a nightmare, especially for me," Varlamov said of his last encounter with the Oilers.
Edmonton took a 2-1 lead at 12:10 of the second period when Nugent-Hopkins sent a wrist shot past Varlamov. It didn't last long as O'Reilly tied it by tapping in a pass from rookie Nathan MacKinnon.
Duchene also had an assist on the play, his second of the night. He has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in five games.
Asked before the game about his recent scoring spree, Duchene shrugged and said, "I just got back to doing what I was doing before I got hurt."
Duchene missed a few games with an oblique injury in late November and then had a virus that zapped his strength. He finally feels back at full strength, he said.
"When it goes in, it goes in," Duchene said. "When it doesn't, it doesn't, and that's hockey. You just want to keep it going."
Barrie scored on a 5-on-3 power play early in the second period, courtesy of Gagner's crosscheck and an unsportsmanlike penalty against Hall.
Gagner and Stastny were battling after a faceoff when Gagner used both hands to shove his stick into Stastny's face. Stastny stayed down on the ice for a moment before heading over to the bench, where the trainers appeared to examine his nose. Gagner was assessed a major penalty and sent to the locker room.
Hall drew an unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the period.
"Taylor Hall did not say one thing to that referee," Eakins said. "Another player said it that was going down the hallway, and it was nothing terrible.
"To light up a guy, to put you down 5-on-3, I came out at the start of the period, after a cooling off period, as we're supposed to do as coaches, and was basically told by the ref to ... I can't say what he said to me. Just looking for simple explanations but couldn't get them."
NOTES: Oilers D Corey Potter finished his two-game suspension for boarding Anaheim F Nick Bonino over the weekend. He is eligible to play Saturday against St. Louis. ... Hall and Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist.