Colorado Avalanche rally again, seal sweep to secure first berth in Stanley Cup Final since 2001

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Colorado Avalanche swept Edmonton from the Western Conference Final in Game 4 on Monday, topping the Oilers 6-5 in overtime to win the best-of-seven series, 4-0.

Colorado advances now to the Stanley Cup Final, where they’ll face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers. New York leads that series, 2-1. It’ll be the Avalanche’s first appearance in the final round since 2001.

Edmonton had its opportunities to stay alive in Game 4, squandering two multi-goal leads. The Oilers were ahead 4-2 midway through the third period, only to allow three straight to the attacking Avalanche. Zack Kassian tied the game 5-5 late in regulation to force overtime, where Arturri Lehkonen ended Edmonton’s hopes of an eventual Cup Final bid with the game-winning goal.

It was Colorado that struck first off a power play goal by Cale Makar. That was Makar’s fifth goal of the postseason, and his first of five points in Game 4.

The game remained 1-0 until halfway through the second. Edmonton was being outshot 21-12 at that point, as goaltender Mike Smith once again held the Oilers in early.

Zach Hyman finally capitalized during a strong push by the Oilers in Colorado’s end, beating Colorado netminder Pavel Francouz to give Edmonton some life.

The Oilers scored two quickly after that, first when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pounced on a turnover and then with Connor McDavid’s power play maker.

Leon Draisitl assisted on the McDavid goal, despite appearing to suffer an injury earlier in the second. The Oilers’ topliner hasn’t been nearly 100% healthy in the postseason, and he labored to the bench in agony following a hit late in the second period. Draisaitl refused to leave the game though and barely missed a shift before adding the helper on McDavid’s goal. And he wasn’t done there.

Draisaitl generated another assist on Hyman’s second goal, this one in the third period Edmonton had started that frame ahead 3-1, until Devon Toews scored 31 seconds in to make it 3-2. The Oilers hung in, and Draisaitl fed Hyman to hurriedly restore Edmonton’s two-goal lead.

Colorado was down 4-2 but wouldn’t be for long. Midway through the third, Smith’s clearing attempt hit a referee and stayed in the Oilers’ zone to set up a fast score by Gabriel Landeskog.

Then, after another unsuccessful Oilers’ power play, Nathan MacKinnon jumped into the play and fired the game-tying goal past Smith to make it 4-4 with six minutes to play in regulation.

Mikko Rantanen had Colorado up 5-4 with a power play goal right after. Edmonton responded with McDavid and Draisaitl combining to tee up Kassian’s game-tying goal after that. Draisaitl finished with four points, and McDavid with three.

Lehkonen needed just 1:19 in the extra frame to score the game-winner, capping his three-point night.

The Avalanche have played for the Cup twice in their franchise history, winning both series. In 1996, they defeated the Florida Panthers. In 2001, they outlasted the New Jersey Devils.


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