DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche continue finding ways to win despite losing key players.
At home, at least.
P.A. Parenteau and Jamie McGinn scored goals 3 minutes, 29 seconds apart in the second period and the Avalanche rallied to beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Saturday.
Paul Stastny also scored and Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves for Colorado, which remained unbeaten in three home games. Matt Duchene and McGinn added an assist apiece.
“In order to have a lot of success in this league, you have to be a dominant home team,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “We’re off to a good start with a long way to go here. It is the way we want to play at home.”
The injury-riddled Avalanche suffered another loss when defenceman Ryan Wilson left the game in the second period with a leg injury. He did not return.
It’s the fourth top-tier player to go down in the first eight games of the year. Forward Steve Downie is out for the season with a torn ACL, captain Gabriel Landeskog was put on injured reserve with head and leg injuries suffered against San Jose last week, and David Jones was scratched with a knee injury suffered against Calgary on Thursday.
“We had a rough run there. It is what it is,” Parenteau said. “We’re going to have to live with it. Some of our guys are going to have to chip in a little more. Tonight they did.”
McGinn was one of them. The veteran winger scored his first goal of the season in what turned out to be the winner.
“It was due to happen. It feels even better when you pick up the two points and we stayed hot at home,” McGinn said.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 37 shots and Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers.
Even without Wilson, Colorado was able to hold on as the Oilers tried desperately for the equalizer in the third. They hit a post and Varlamov made a big save on Ales Hemsky on a point-blank shot midway through the period.
Edmonton’s last strong chance came on a power play with 3:17 left. They pulled Dubnyk for an extra attacker 30 seconds later but the Avalanche took advantage when Stastny jumped out of the box and scored an empty-netter to seal it. It was his third goal in the last two games.
“At critical points in the game we’ve got to be better with our sticks and better with our body position,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “We are slightly fatigued off the back-to-back and the early start but let’s learn and grow from that.”
Edmonton got on the board first when Hemsky sent a pass through the legs of defenceman Greg Zanon right to Yakupov, who beat Varlamov 58 seconds into the game.
The lead stood until late in the second period. Colorado, which minutes earlier failed to score on a 30-second 5-on-3 power play, tied it when Parenteau redirected a shot from Wilson in front of the net with 7:53 left in the frame. It was his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
“I saw when he was going to shoot it. He had a lane and I was coming around the net,” Parenteau said. “He got a nice shot on it and I picked it up.”
The Avalanche didn’t wait long for their second goal. Duchene stole the puck from Hemsky along the boards and fed a charging McGinn, who tipped the pass over Dubnyk’s right shoulder to make it 2-1.
“It was the same thing in San Jose where five minutes we let our guard down and started turning the puck over,” Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Any team in this league is going to be able to take advantage of those.”
NOTES: The team recalled LW David Van Der Gulik from Lake Erie of the AHL to take Landeskog’s spot on the roster. … Sam Gagner assisted on Yakupov’s goal and has notched at least a point in each of Edmonton’s first eight games. … Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff was a scratch for the second straight game with a neck injury. He is expected to return against Vancouver on Monday. … The Avalanche are 15-for-15 on the penalty kill at home.