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Star Sakic doesn't return after injuring ankle

12/14/2002

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Jason Chimera showed he deserves a
regular role with the Edmonton Oilers.

Chimera, often a healthy scratch this season, scored 3:21 into
overtime to earn the Oilers a hard-fought 4-3 victory Friday night
over the Colorado Avalanche.

Chimera, an Edmonton native, knocked a rebound past Patrick Roy
on the Oilers' only shot of overtime.

"You dream of that when you grow up,'' Chimera said. "The way
the fans react, there is no better feeling.

"Anytime you get a big win against Colorado, or any division
rival, it's that much better. Just unreal to score in a big game
like that against a goalie named Patrick Roy.''

Edmonton's Georges Laraque forced overtime, tying it 3-3 less
than 10 minutes into the third. Chimera assisted on the goal.

The game was Laraque's first since Nov. 30. He missed five games
with an infected cut on his elbow, an injury sustained when he
crashed into the boards against Colorado. Days before the injury,
Laraque was also in an auto accident.

"Everything went so wrong that I would have never expected in
the first game back I get the tying goal,'' said Laraque, whose
brother, Jules, was in attendance. "Getting it in front of him
(Jules) ... everything had been going bad.

"It's just unbelievable.''

Added Oilers forward Anson Carter: "The big fella came up with
a big goal. And Chimmer's been in and out of the lineup most of the
year and he was able to chip one in, too. Whenever you get a
victory like that where your big line isn't the story, it's a great
morale booster for the rest of the guys.''

Mike York and Carter also scored for Edmonton, which has lost
just once since Nov. 16.

Milan Hejduk, Eric Messier and former Oilers player Dean
McAmmond scored for Colorado.

Avalanche center Joe Sakic left the game midway through the
second period with an injured ankle after getting tangled up with
McAmmond. Sakic did not return, and his status for Saturday night's division game against Calgary is doubtful.

"We were coming towards each other and we tried to get out of
each other's way,'' McAmmond said. "He tried to sidestep me and
twisted his ankle.''

Colorado had a power play late in the game and into overtime but
couldn't score. Alex Tanguay came in alone on Tommy Salo but his
wrist shot with less than two minutes remaining was gloved.

"When you struggle, you don't get breaks,'' Colorado coach Bob
Hartley said. "We had numerous scoring chances in the third.

"Salo played very well for them.''

Hejduk opened the scoring 3:20 in during a five-minute Colorado
power play after the Oilers lost first-line center Mike Comrie just
1:15 into the period. Hejduk got to the front of the net and put a
rebound in behind Salo.

Comrie was given an elbowing major and game misconduct for a hit
on Peter Forsberg. The Avalanche forward was shaken up and forced
to go to the dressing room after he took a run at Comrie and was
subsequently elbowed in the head. Forsberg returned midway through
the period and was booed whenever he touched the puck.

"Mike moved the puck, Peter keeps coming at him and you know
that you're going to get hit on a late hit, so you have to protect
yourself,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "You put your hands
up in the air to protect yourself from a high stick, which any
player would do.

"Mike elbowed him marginally. It's maybe a two-minute call and
first shift into the game, it's five and a game for our No. 1
center. They made a mistake on the call. I don't think there's any
question about that.''

It was the second time in three games that Comrie has been
ejected. He was given a game misconduct in Atlanta last Sunday for
not tying down his jersey, which came off during a fight with Ilya
Kovalchuk.

York tied the game at 15:33 of the first, also on the power
play. Ryan Smyth appeared to have slid the puck past Roy but it did
not cross the goal line. A Colorado defenseman tried to clear the
puck, but it hit Roy. York pounced on it for his sixth goal in nine
games.

Edmonton had a great opportunity to take a lead on an extended
five-on-three but instead went down 2-1 on Messier's fourth of the
season. Rob Blake carried the puck into the Oilers zone and fired a
shot at Salo. Messier trailed and knocked in his own rebound while
falling into Salo.

Colorado entered the game ranked last in the NHL on the penalty
kill with a 77.6 percent success rate.

Game notes
Todd Marchant's assist on Carter's goal was his 300th NHL
point. ... Carter's goal was his team-high 14th. ... Colorado was
1-for-5 on the power play. The Oilers were 2-for-6. ... Roy made 24
saves.