Nazem Kadri helped Colorado score three goals in just over two minutes in the second period and the Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the Western Finals with a 4-0 victory over the Oilers of Edmonton in Game 2 on Thursday.
Pavel Francouz, who started at the net for the Avalanche due to an upper-body injury to Darcy Kuemper, had a 24-save shutout. It was his second career playoff shutout.
“It’s not easy not to play a lot at the end of the season and in the playoffs and continue like that making several key saves when the score was 0-0 and even afterward when we had a few goals lead. It shows how good a goalkeeper he is and how strong he is mental”, admitted Mikko Rantanen.
Artturi Lehkonen got a goal and an assist.
” Lehky engages in pre-flighting and creates turnovers that lead directly to goals. It always goes to the network to do its dirty work. It’s a delight to play with him,” said Kadri.
After an offensive festival won by the Avalanche 8-6 in the first game, the fans had to wait until the second half to witness a goal or rather three goals.
The Avalanche opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the second half. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse couldn’t reach a teammate in his crease and Rantanen passed the puck to Kadri. The latter fired a quick shot that Lehkonen deflected to fool Smith’s vigilance.
The celebrations weren’t even over when the Avalanche doubled their lead just 15 seconds later. The Oilers were again pressed in their territory and Manson accepted a pass from Kadri before unleashing a slap shot that moved the ropes. Smith seemed to be a little distraught over teammate Josh Archibald’s attempted block.
Back on the ice, the Avalanche’s second line returned to action just one minute and 49 seconds later. On a two-on-one run, Kadri passed to Rantanen, who was asking for the puck, and the Finn put the puck behind Smith.
The Colorado team then closed the door on the Oilers, allowing only 11 shots in the final 40 minutes of play.
“We played a good first, said Tyson Barrie. There was this streak in the second where they scored one, then a second, and a third. This is a team that likes to seize the moment. We have to do a better job of stopping the bleeding when they score a goal. We can’t let the game get out of control like that. »
“That two-minute streak took the wind out of us and we weren’t able to generate the changes we would have wanted for the rest of the game,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Nathan MacKinnon made it 4-0 with 4:40 left in the third when Mike Smith lost his glove to the shorthanded.
The two leading scorers in the playoffs, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl missed out for the first time in 10 games. Draisaitl had amassed at least two points in his last six outings.
“I haven’t been at my best since the start of this series,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid admitted. They did a good job of limiting our scoring chances. »
Smith, back in the net for the Oilers after being ejected from Game 1 in which he gave up six times on 19 shots, stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced.
The Oilers’ offense had grown stronger in recent weeks, having scored at least four goals in their last six games, and they challenged Francouz in the first period. The Czech, however, answered the call.
Kailer Yamamoto left the match after the second half with an upper-body injury. He was hit by Gabriel Landeskog in second.
“I think Yamamoto was in a vulnerable position and the main point of contact was the head,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. My job is not to make these decisions, I am not a referee. I’m sure this check will be reviewed by the league. »
The series now moves to Edmonton, where Game 3 will take place on Saturday.
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