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Stefan Heaven

The Avs Defenseman Scores His First Career NHL Goal In His NHL Debut

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 11:15 PM / News
By Ron Knabenbauer
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Stefan Heaven
 
Stefan Elliott’s NHL debut could not have been more perfect.
 
The rookie from Vancouver started the game with Ryan Wilson, had 19:36 of ice time and scored the game-winning goal on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
 
Two-minutes after Shane O’Brien scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2, Elliott received the puck off a faceoff win by Ryan O’Reilly, moved his way across the blue line and fired the puck past a screened Devan Dubnyk for the game-winner at 8:03 of the third period.
 
“Just pure joy and excitement,” Elliott said of his feelings after he scored. “It is something special to score my first goal, let alone it being my first game.
 
Colorado added two more in the third to run away with a 5-2 victory in front of 17,684 in attendance at Pepsi Center.
 
Elliott was the third player the Avalanche selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, following Matt Duchene at No. 3 and Ryan O’Reilly at No. 33, but he had yet to see action in an NHL game until Saturday.
 
After defenseman Erik Johnson was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury earlier in the day, Elliott was officially recalled Saturday from Lake Erie, where he had two goals and seven assists in 18 games.
 
“It started as a mad frantic rush when I got the call,” Elliott said. “I was just trying to get to the airport on time. Once I got in and got settled in, I tried to calm the nerves a little bit and just came in here and got ready to play.”
 
He is the first defenseman to score a goal in his NHL debut in team history and the first in franchise history since Jean-Marc Richard did it for the Quebec Nordiques on Feb. 2, 1988 versus Buffalo. He is also the first Avs player to score a goal in his NHL debut since Vaclav Nedorost on Oct. 3, 2001 against Pittsburgh.
 
Last season as a member of the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, Elliott led all defensemen in the league with 31 goals and was tied for first most in points with 81. He went on to win the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Defenseman of the Year.
 
Elliott after the game admitted that he was a little anxious coming in, but was glad to finally play his first NHL game.
 
“Hopefully, there’s a lot more to come in my career,” he said.
 
The Avalanche improves to 2-2 on their eight-game homestand. They return to action on Monday at 7 p.m. against the Dallas Stars. Colorado defeated Dallas 3-0 on Nov. 18 to begin the homestand.
 
Big Third Period
Down 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Avs beat Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk four times in the third period for their first win against a Northwest Division opponent.
 
Colorado began the third period on the power play and Shane O’Brien said the team knew they could come back against an Edmonton squad that was playing its fourth game in six days.
 
“There were some veteran players here that were saying in between the second and third that we would find a way to get it done and we did,” O’Brien said.
 
O’Brien’s goal kicked off the third period after his shot from the top of the slot found its way through traffic and over the glove of Dubnyk on the power play at 6:04.
 
Ryan O’Reilly, who finished with two assists in the game (both coming in the third), said the team used the momentum from O’Brien’s early goal to their advantage.
 
“In the third period, we had the power play, we wanted to get momentum and we just got back to our game,” O’Reilly said. “We had our chances and we buried them.”
 
The Avs’ four goals in the third period matched their season high for goals in a single period (Oct. 13 at Ottawa, third period).
 
McClement Scores Again Versus Oilers
Down by one in the first, Colorado tied the contest with Jay McClement’s third goal of the year.
 
Chuck Kobasew had a breakaway chance, but the puck was poke checked away by Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk. McClement was following close behind Kobasew and picked up the free puck and fired it past Dubnyk.
 
McClement has seven goals and nine assists against the Oilers in 28 games. His 16 points against Edmonton is tied for the most by him versus a single opponent (also Columbus).
 
Duchene To The Point, Again
Matt Duchene picked up his 11th point of the month, assisting on McClement’s goal in the first. He now has seven goals and four assists in the month of November.
 
Duchene has 17 career points against the Oilers (five goals and 12 assists), his most points against any opponent
 
More Notes
Shane O’Brien scored his first goal since Nov. 13, 2010 vs. Chicago, snapping a drought of 87 games…Tonight was O’Brien’s second career power-play goal and first since Oct. 18, 2006 vs. Detroit, which was at the time his sixth NHL game with Anaheim.
 
Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid scored his first goal since Dec. 5, 2009 at Dallas, snapping a drought of 124 games.
 
Chuck Kobasew tied his career high with two assists…Tonight marked the eighth time he’s had two assists in a game and the first time since Nov. 13, 2008 vs. Montreal.
 
The Avalanche evened the season series with the Oilers at 1-1-0...Tonight was the Avalanche’s first win against a Northwest Division foe this year (had been 0-6-0).
 
Paul Stastny’s empty-net goal was his 335th career point, moving him past Mats Sundin (334) for sole possession of 10th place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

1. Joe Sakic                            1641
2. Peter Stastny                      1048
3. Michel Goulet                      945
4. Milan Hejduk                       772
5. Peter Forsberg                      755
6. Anton Stastny                      636
7. Dale Hunter                         464
8. Valeri Kamensky                 414
9. Alex Tanguay                       400
10. Paul Stastny                      335
11. Mats Sundin                       334
 
Ryan O’Reilly picked up his 11th and 12th assists of the season, making him the team leader in that category.
 
Jake Schroeder performed the national anthem for the 500th time at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
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