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Oilers explode for 8 goals vs. Avalanche

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EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers looked like a new team Thursday.

They were not, only 25 percent of the line-up had been changed, but it was more than enough in an 8-2 upset of the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Edmonton rolled out to a 3-0 first period lead and then kept the Avalanche on the ropes for the rest of the evening to win at home for just the fourth time this season and improve its overall record to 10-18-2.

With two AHL defensemen pushed into action, and another young blue-liner fresh off injured reserve, nobody in Edmonton saw this coming.

"I haven't been in this league long, but I've been in it enough to know that anything can happen on any night against any team," said left winger Taylor Hall, who scored Edmonton's first, second and eighth goals.

"You have to be ready for the opportunity. You just have to come out and play your game. Sometimes you're going to get eight and some nights you're going to get zero. And tonight was a great night."

Colorado, after winning its previous five, dropped to 19-7-0.

"I'm not disappointed at all," said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. "They played well and scored power-play goals, they scored on the rush. We knew before the game that it's a team that it would be very dangerous to exchange chances with. If they go on the rush, it's their game and you played into it. We need to learn from it."

The Oilers were still stinging after a 6-2 home-ice loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, an embarrassing defeat that resulted in the demotion of three players and a seat in the press box for two more, and were hoping to get the jump on a Colorado team that hadn't played a game in five games.

They did, scoring at 3:44 when Hall had a breakaway from center ice. The goal seemed especially important at the time, given that the Avalanche came into the contest a tidy 17-0-0 when scoring first.

"It gave us confidence," said Hall. "We're a team, you've seen it, that when we're not confident and we're not playing with poise, we don't look like the same team. And all of a sudden we get a goal and it just seems like we're skating better and we have that burst of energy.

"The best teams in the league, they don't need that spark, but at times we do."

Colorado had a chance to get that one right back when they were presented with a lengthy 5-on-3 power play, but Edmonton came through with a clutch kill before turning their attention back to offence.

Hall's second of the night on an Edmonton power play made it 2-0 at 17:42 and before the crowd even had a chance to digest the announcement, winger Ales Hemsky jumped on a Colorado turnover to make it 3-0 at 17:57.

Edmonton, despite being outshot 10-8, had a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.

But the Avalanche weren't about to let this one go without a fight and played their way back into things in a hurry. They closed it to 3-1 when a long shot from defenseman Nick Holden banked in off an Oilers stick, than another Oilers skate, and behind goaltender Devan Dubnyk at 4:20.

They cut it to 3-2 when right winger P.A. Parenteau beat two Edmonton defensemen to a rebound at 9:28.

It looked like the Oilers were in the midst of a classic collapse, but left winger David Perron settled things down when he put a shot inside the left post to make it 4-2 Oilers at 12:06.

Center Mark Arcobello, right winger Jordan Eberle and center Sam Gagner added third-period goals while Hall completed the hat-trick in the dying seconds.

"What happened in the last five minutes, we have to look at each other and play for our goaltender there," said Avalanche center Paul Stastny. "Those last two goals are on us. We can't quit on our goaltender like that. He has been our best player all year. Hanging him out to dry like that is unacceptable."

After losing 6-2, the Oilers win 8-2 two days later. Go figure.

"It's something we spoke about a week or two ago, trying not to lose two in a row and we've done a good job of that so far," said Perron, who scored his fourth goal in the last four games. "The nice thing would be to get on a roll here and win two or three."

NOTES: Edmonton G Ilya Bryzgalov was placed in injured reserve due to concussion/whiplash symptoms after being bowled over last Sunday in Dallas. ... The Oilers demoted D Denis Grebeshkov, D Anton Belov and C Will Acton after their 6-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday and recalled D Corey Potter, D Martin Marincin and C Anton Lander. ... The Oilers also made D Jeff Petry a healthy scratch for the first time this season. ... The four-day break in the schedule allowed the Avalanche to rest up some nagging injuries, but D Ryan Wilson (back) and LW Alex Tanguay (knee) still aren't ready. ... Colorado's 38 points after 25 games is the second-best start in franchise history (they had 39 in 2000-01). ... Avalance D Jan Hejda left the game in the first period after losing an edge and sliding into the end boards.
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