Oilers' Hall strikes late to beat Avalanche

EDMONTON (Reuters) - Rookie Taylor Hall scored his first game-winning goal with 29 seconds left in the third period to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Fellow Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle carried behind the Colorado net, made a pass across the ice to find Hall open and he fired a first-time wrister past Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj.

"It was definitely a big goal for our team, no matter who got it," said Hall.

"Especially to get a home win like this, to put our sticks up at the end of the game and know we played our hearts out."

The Oilers built a 2-0 lead inside four minutes thanks to goals from Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano.

"We didn't have a good start to the game," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "We had a few guys that weren't ready when the puck dropped and that cost us a couple of goals."

However, Kevin Shattenkirk responded with a wrister for the Avalanche at 5.50 in the first and Matt Duchene scored on a powerplay in the second period to tie the score.

"We got ourselves back into it and played pretty well after that until we got caught on our heels a little bit in the third," Sacco said.

Martin Gerber made his first start in goal for Edmonton making 35 saves in the win, and also drew an assist in Hall's game winner.

"I think by his own admission, he might suggest he was a little rusty early," Renney said of Gerber. "But, boy, did he ever nail it down and he was really strong and battled. He showed a lot of character."

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Patrick Johnston)