SUN Hockey Pool

Inspirational Ales

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

It took a moment of inspiration to get the Oilers going last night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Ales Hemsky provided it in the second period.

It jump-started a comeback which led to the snapping of a 12-game winless skid with a 4-3 shootout win.

"We were very flat in the second period until he scored that goal," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"There was a lot of concern on the bench - from my perspective anyway - about the emotional level of the team. We were so down I didn't think we'd be able to recover.

"Then (Hemsky) makes a brilliant end-to-end play and we get a little bit of life."

HIS OWN REBOUND

With the Avalanche up 2-0 in the second, Hemsky cut the lead in half, collecting his own rebound in front of the Avalanche net, going around it and beating goalie Peter Budaj to the other side.

Hemsky was making his return to the lineup after eight games out with an injured collarbone.

"He's a pretty big member of our lineup and it was good to have him back," MacTavish said.

Including the eight games he'd missed, it had been 22 games since he'd scored.

Later in the period, Petr Sykora scored his first goal in 15 games, firing a shot past Budaj from the point on the power play to tie the contest.

Also making their returns to the lineup last night were centre Marty Reasoner and defenceman Tom Gilbert.

Reasoner had missed nine games with a shoulder injury after getting run over by Minnesota Wild forward Derek Boogaard.

He went on to score the shootout winner, lifting a backhand over Budaj after the Oilers previous four shooters had missed.

Gilbert had been out of the lineup since getting knocked into next week by Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jody Shelley on Feb. 22. Gilbert had missed 13 games.

Dwayne Roloson stopped all five shooters he faced in the shootout after making 43 saves in the contest.

"This was huge for us," Roloson said.

"Getting some veterans back helped out a lot. It was a big confidence builder for us, but at the same time we can't dwell on it either.

"We have to come back again (tonight) against an other pretty good team."

Marek Svatos had poked home a loose puck on the power play early in the third to restore the Avalanche lead, but Joffrey Lupul sent the game into overtime with a goal 1:47 from the end.

The Avs were looking to gain ground on the Calgary Flames who extended their lead for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference to six points the night before.

HOST PREDS

Tonight the Oilers host the Nashville Predators in their last home game of the season. They'll then head out on a six-game road trip to close out the season, starting Tuesday in Nashville.

"I was really happy with how the guys came out tonight," Lupul said. "Especially with how poorly we had played in our last game.

"I think it showed a lot by our young players. And, obviously, it helped to get a couple of guys back in the lineup."

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OILERS 4 AVALANCHE 3

Hemsky 5 Svatos 5

Sykora 5 Hejduk 5

Pisani 5 Sakic 5

Lupul 5 McLean 5

Reasoner 4 Wolski 5


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