NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Edmonton
(Wednesday, October 5th)
Final Score: Edmonton 4, Colorado 3
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Shawn Horcoff scored twice, including the winning goal with 3:18 remaining in the third period, as the new-look Edmonton Oilers posted a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the regular season opener for both teams at Rexall Place.
It marked a welcomed return to the ice for both teams, following the lockout to the 2004-05 season.
Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists for the Oilers, who were one of the big winners of the NHL's abbreviated offseason, as Chris Pronger and Mike Peca entered the fold. Both players headed to Alberta via trade.
Pronger and Peca were both held without a point in their debuts.
Colorado, playing its first game since former Hart Trophy winner Peter Forsberg signed with Philadelphia as a free agent, got goals from Brett Clark, Antti Laaksonen and Patrice Brisebois.
There were other noticeable absences to the Avalanche as compared to the 2003-04 season. Defenseman Adam Foote also fled the Avalanche, inking a contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets, while Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, who suffered through disappointing seasons in Denver, are gone as well.
"We haven't played the game at that speed for a long time," Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll gain some momentum knowing that's how the pace of the game has to be played and that's the way we want to play the game, up tempo and some speed in our game."
Ty Conklin made just 14 saves for the Oilers, while David Aebischer stopped 27 shots for Colorado.
Brisebois, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, scored on a shot from above the left circle with 7:20 left in the third period to forge a 3-3 tie.
Horcoff then broke the tie. Smyth fed the puck from behind the net to Radek Dvorak in the lower right circle. Dvorak then passed the puck to the left side of the goal and Horcoff backhanded it into the open net.
The Avalanche pulled goaltender Aebischer with 1:20 left and threatened once when Pierre Turgeon shot from the right side of the net, but Conklin came up with the save.
Horcoff, playing in his fifth NHL season, also assisted on Edmonton's third goal, a power-play tally by Jarret Stoll on a one-timer from the left circle to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead with 3:01 left in the second.
Horcoff had the quickest-ever goal by an Oiler to start the season, as he put in a rebound off a Jason Smith shot just 24 seconds into the game.
Clark tied the game, but Smyth gave the Oilers the lead just 25 seconds later by scoring at the 6:16 mark of the first.
Laaksonen tied the game at 2-2 with his goal at the 8:42 mark of the first.
The Oilers improved to 13-9-4 all-time in season openers, while Colorado fell to 15-5-6...The Avalanche were 0-for-3 on the power play, while Edmonton was 1-for-7.
10/06 01:27:39 ET