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Hlinka, Arnason fuel Avalanche

Mar 14, 2008 - 5:03 AM
DENVER (Ticker) -- Jaroslav Hlinka and Tyler Arnason recorded a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche scored four times in the second period to claim sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division with a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.

Jeff Finger, rookie David Jones and Wojtek Wolski also tallied for Colorado, which overcame the absences of Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote and Ryan Smyth to win for the eighth time in nine games.

Peter Budaj made 23 saves his first start since February 20 for the Avalanche (38-27-6), who hold a two-point lead over both the Minnesota Wild (37-26-8) and Calgary Flames (36-25-10).

"It's a good feeling to get back in the net and start a game," Budaj said. "We played really great defensively, blocking shots. Tremendous effort by everybody, so I think it was a big win."

Rookie Sam Gagner scored the lone goal for Edmonton, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end.

"It's a tough game," Gagner said. "They're one of the teams we are trying to catch. We have more important games coming up. We have to focus on the game in Phoenix and we have to try to build on what we did in the third (period) there and hope we come up with a solid effort in Phoenix."

Finger opened the scoring when he accepted a feed from Hlinka and wristed it past Mathieu Garon from the right faceoff circle with 68 seconds remaining in the first period. It was his first goal since returning to the lineup on March 6 after missing six games with a hand injury.

Hlinka doubled Colorado's advantage just 18 seconds into the second period when he picked off a pass at the blue line and beat Garon inside the far post from the left circle.

"I just tried to hit the net," said Hlinka, who missed two open nets in the opening period. "It was a lucky shot. I was upset with myself because I had good chances in the first period."

Colorado earned a three-goal bulge when Arnason buried the rebound of a Joe Sakic shot from the right circle in the top right corner. Arnason has 18 points - eight goals and 10 assists - in 14 games against Edmonton since joining the Avalanche, including seven multi-point games.

"Everybody has a team like that," Arnason said. "You feel comfortable against them and the puck seems to go in against them. There's no formula for it."

Sakic moved to within two assists of becoming the 11th player in NHL history to record 1,000 career assists.

Gagner cut the Oilers' deficit to 3-1 on the power play when he banged home the rebound of an Ales Hemsky shot at the left post 7:21 into the second period, but Colorado struck for a pair of goals in a span of 96 seconds late in the second period.

"Clearly we didn't have our legs," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We lacked the experience to play ourselves through a game like that. You can survive a game like that if you're not making mental mistakes. We have not played well in this building."

Jones scored for the second time in as many games when he converted on a pass from Arnason while driving toward the right post, giving the Avalanche two power-play goals for just the second time in 18 games.

"I'm just trying to get to the net," Jones said. "He (Arnason) made a great play and I was able to finish it. The coaches are putting me with great players and obviously that makes it a lot easier."

Wolski capped the scoring with 3:48 remaining in the second period, taking an outlet pass from Ian Laperriere at center ice and beating Dwayne Roloson with a deke to forehand.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 1 0 1
    COLORADO 1 4 0 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 7 (JAROSLAV HLINKA, PAUL STASTNY) 18:52
    2ND PRD: COL - JAROSLAV HLINKA 8 (UNASSISTED) 0:18
    COL - (PP) TYLER ARNASON 9 (JOE SAKIC, RUSLAN SALEI) 3:31
    EDM - (PP) SAM GAGNER 9 (ALES HEMSKY) 7:21
    COL - (

    Mar 14 12:00 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 1 1
    COLORADO 1 4 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 7 (JAROSLAV HLINKA, PAUL STASTNY) 18:52
    2ND PRD: COL - JAROSLAV HLINKA 8 (UNASSISTED) 0:18
    COL - (PP) TYLER ARNASON 9 (JOE SAKIC, RUSLAN SALEI) 3:31
    EDM - (PP) SAM GAGNER 9 (ALES HEMSKY)

    Mar 13 11:12 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    COLORADO 5
    2ND PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 16 (IAN LAPERRIERE) 16:12

    Oilers 1, Avalanche 5  2nd - 3:48Mar 13 11:04 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    COLORADO 4
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) DAVID JONES 2 (TYLER ARNASON, ANDREW BRUNETTE)
    14:36

    Oilers 1, Avalanche 4  2nd - 5:24Mar 13 11:03 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 1
    COLORADO 3
    2ND PRD: EDM - (PP) SAM GAGNER 9 (ALES HEMSKY) 7:21

    Oilers 1, Avalanche 3  2nd - 12:39Mar 13 10:49 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    COLORADO 3
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) TYLER ARNASON 9 (JOE SAKIC, RUSLAN SALEI) 3:31

    Oilers 0, Avalanche 3  2nd - 16:29Mar 13 10:42 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: COL - JAROSLAV HLINKA 8 (UNASSISTED) 0:18

    Oilers 0, Avalanche 2  2nd - 19:42Mar 13 10:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDMONTON 0 0
    COLORADO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 7 (JAROSLAV HLINKA, PAUL STASTNY) 18:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    EDM 4 4
    COL 10 10
    GOALIES: EDM - MATHIEU GARON
    C

    Mar 13 10:15 PM


  • NHL
    EDMONTON 0
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 7 (JAROSLAV HLINKA, PAUL STASTNY) 18:52

    Oilers 0, Avalanche 1  1st - 1:08Mar 13 10:15 PM