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Monday October 13, 2008 12:52 am

Oilers Best Struggling Avalanche

Dustin Penner celebrates after winning the game for the Oilers.
Peter Budaj allowed a goal to Dustin Penner with 5.4 seconds remaining in the 3rd period to cap off an exhilarating 3-2 victory for the Edmonton Oilers, and deliver a tough luck loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The goal was Penner’s second of that period (Penner scored 5 minutes and 57 seconds into the period). Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj has now allowed 8 goals in his team’s first two regular season games.

“It felt great to get a start like that to the season,” Penner said. “It’s something to build on for myself and for the whole team. We have to take the momentum from this win even though we didn’t have our best game.”

Prior to the final 5.4 seconds of the game, a neck and neck match-up had ensued. Shawn Horcoff of the Oilers scored the game’s first goal on a power play in the first period. In the 2nd, 20 year NHL veteran Joe Sakic responded with a goal for the Avalanche. The third period is when things got interesting. Penner’s goal arrived after five minutes, and at the ten minute mark, Milan Hejduk beat Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon stick side to knot up the game at 2. And finally, with seconds remaining in the game, Dustin Penner tipped in a blocked Ethan Moreau shot to put the Oilers up for good.

“It seemed like they were able to get the bounces, whether it was a tip or whatever, the puck went in,” Budaj said after the game. “I have to find a way to help the team win hockey games and I have to find a way to make that save when it counts. Even though it’s a bad bounce, I have to find a way to make that save.”

Mathieu Garon, the game’s first star, did an excellent job as netminder last night. He blocked 31 of 33 attempted shots, minimizing the Avalanche damage. After the game, Garon talked about his team’s performance.

“That’s going to happen in a season. Sometimes you play really well and don’t get a win and sometimes it works the other way,” Garon said. “Sometimes it is hard to play that first game. You can be a bit nervous. Colorado had already played a game. It was just good to get that one done and get away with a win the way we did.”

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