EDMONTON — Even without a goal through the first two periods, it seemed only a matter of time before the Colorado Avalanche would turn the tide on Saturday.
"Going into the third, we thought we were the better team even though we were down two,” said Avs forward Evan Rodrigues, who had a pair of assists. “We just stuck with it and we got a huge two points.”
Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Hunt also scored for the Avalanche (20-15-3).
“I’m really happy with the way we played tonight,” said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. “I thought it was a full 60, no question. Even though the score was leaning the other way after 40 minutes, I thought five-on-five the guys played really well.”
Zach Hyman had both goals for the Oilers (21-17-3) who have lost six of their last seven on home ice.
“It was a frustrating one for us,” said Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie. “We had two posts in overtime. Maybe we get one of those and it is a celebration in here instead.”
Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner made 43 saves.
“Tough, tough way to lose,” he said. “I'm obviously pretty frustrated right now. Yeah, it sucks.”
Colorado came close to capturing the lead with 5 1/2 minutes to go in the opening period as MacKinnon rang a shot off the post behind Oilers starter Skinner.
Edmonton got the game’s first goal just over a minute later on the power play as Connor McDavid sent a pass through the crease to Hyman in front and he directed the puck past Avs goalie Alexandar Georgiev.
The Avalanche kept battling, but couldn’t buy a break, as Mikko Rantanen hit a post and Samuel Girard a crossbar in the early stages of the second.
The Oilers potent power play struck again with 4:55 to play in the middle frame as a Tyson Barrie shot caromed off the boards to Hyman in front and he chipped his second of the game and 20th of the season through Georgiev’s legs. The goal survived a video review challenge for interference.
Colorado finally got one on the board 3:06 into the third period on a beauty as MacKinnon split the defence and muscled a puck over Skinner’s shoulder for his 10th of the season.
The Avalanche tied the game with 11:41 to play in the third while the teams were playing four-aside as Hunt raced to keep a puck in at the zone and then snapped a sot past Skinner for his first of the season.
There was a frenetic final few minutes with golden opportunities for both sides, but it ended up going to extra time.
The Oilers hit two posts in overtime before Makar was able to pick the corner 2:09 into the bonus session.
“It was a big win for us, we needed that,” Bednar said. “It gets a little tense when you lose five in a row and you feel like you’re playing well, then you go down 2-0, but the guys were really focused tonight.”
It was the first meeting between the two teams since the Avalanche swept the Oilers 4-0 in the Western Conference final last season en route to their Stanley Cup victory. They will play again in Denver on Feb. 19 and then once more in Colorado on April 11. … The Avalanche have been badly hit by injuries this season to key players and were without the services of Gabriel Landeskog (knee), Bowen Byram (lower body), Josh Manson (lower body), Pavel Francouz (lower body) and Valeri Nichushkin (ankle). However, forward Evan Rodrigues returned after missing the last two games with an upper body injury. … Out for the Oilers were Evander Kane (wrist) and Ryan Murray (back). … Edmonton loaned forward James Hamblin to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Saturday. … Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi suited up in his 300th career game. … MacKinnon tied Anton Stastny for the fifth-most goals in franchise history.
The Oilers launch a four-game road trip on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Avalanche return home for one game on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press