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Taylor Hall buries winner as Oilers slip past Avalanche

Taylor Hall on Jan. 24, 2012

Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press

Taylor Hall scored in the third period as the Edmonton Oilers won for the second time in their last three outings with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Jordan Eberle and Eric Belanger also scored for the Oilers (19-26-5), who have gone 2-0-1 in their last three outings after losing eight of their previous nine.

Peter Mueller and Gabriel Landeskog responded for the Avalanche (26-24-2), who have lost three in a row and have fallen out of a playoff position.

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Edmonton came close to starting the scoring three minutes in when Ben Eager sprung Anton Lander on a breakaway. Lander had Colorado starter Semyon Varlamov beat with a backhand that hit the post and rattled out of harm's way.

Two minutes later it was a 1-0 game for the Oilers as Eberle swung around from behind the net and used his second whack to stuff the puck between the post and Varlamov's skate. AHL call-up Philippe Cornet earned an assist on the goal in just the second shift of his NHL debut.

Edmonton kept the pressure coming with five minutes left in the opening frame when Ales Hemsky had the Colorado netminder beat but hit the team's second post of the night.

The Oilers made it 2-0 on the power play with just over two minutes remaining in the first when Belanger blasted home just his second of the season from the top of the circle.

Colorado had its best chance to that point seconds later when Chuck Kobasew almost had a short-handed break on the second half of a double-minor penalty, but Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk hustled out of the net to poke-check the puck away.

The Avalanche made it a 2-1 game just over a minute into the second period when Kobasew through the puck through the crease and Mueller was able to whack in his fourth of the year.

Two minutes later it was Edmonton's turn to be saved by a post when Ryan O'Bryne unleashed a point shot that had Dubnyk beat but rattled soundly off the cage.

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The Oilers regained their two-goal advantage six minutes into the third when Varlamov allowed a big rebound on a Hemsky shot and Hall was there to shovel in his 17th of the season.

Colorado cut the lead to 3-2 midway through the third when Dubnyk was able to make a stop on a Milan Hejduk backhander but couldn't get back in position to stop Landeskog, who was left pretty much alone in front of the net, from lifting in the rebound.

Dubnyk came up with a huge glove save to rob Ryan O'Reilly at the side of the net with two minutes to play to preserve the win, making 31 overall saves in the contest.

Both teams return to the ice on Thursday when the Oilers play host to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Avalanche return to Colorado to start a four-game homestand against Minnesota.

Notes: It was the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton won two of the first three. a The Oilers came into the game without a strong record of late at home against the Avs, taking points in 11 of the previous 12 games with a 7-1-4 record. a Colorado is tied for the most games played this season with Carolina. a Edmonton has had more than its fair share of injures this season but the players are starting to return to the lineup. Forward Ben Eager was the latest to return on Tuesday, one game after veteran defenceman Ryan Whitney rejoined the team. Rookie phenom Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and defencemen Tom Gilbert and Cam Barker have all resumed skating and could be back within a week. a Jordan Eberle's goal was his 19th of the season. He had 18 in his rookie season last year. a Colorado's Matt Duchene (knee) is still reportedly several weeks away from returning to the lineup and remains out indefinitely.

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