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Colorado Avalanche rally again, sweep seals to secure first place in Stanley Cup Final since 2001

EDMONTON, Alta. — The Colorado Avalanche swept Edmonton out of the Western Conference Finals in Game 4 on Monday, beating the Oilers 6-5 in overtime to win the best-of-seven series 4-0.

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

Edmonton had its chances to stay alive in Game 4, squandering two multi-goal leads. The Oilers had a 4-2 lead midway through the third period, only to give the Avalanche forward three straight games. Zack Kassian tied the game 5-5 late in regulation to force extra time, where Artturi Lehkonen ended Edmonton’s hopes of a possible Cup final bid with the winning goal.

It was Colorado that scored Cale Makar’s first power-play goal. It was Makar’s fifth goal in the playoffs and his first five-pointer in Game 4.

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

Zach Hyman eventually capitalized on a strong Oilers push in the Colorado side, beating Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz to breathe life into Edmonton.

The Oilers quickly scored two runs thereafter, first when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pounced on a Colorado turnover, then with Connor McDavid’s power-play scorer.

Leon Draisaitl assisted on McDavid’s goal, although he appeared to be out with an injury earlier in the second. The Oilers’ top understudy wasn’t 100% healthy in the playoffs, and he worked the bench in agony after a hit late in the second period. Draisaitl refused to leave the game, however, and barely missed a shift before adding the assist 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 started the period with a 3-1 lead until Devon Toews scored 31 seconds to make it 3-2. The Oilers hung on and Draisaitl fed Hyman to quickly restore Edmonton’s two-goal lead.

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

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

Mikko Rantanen led Colorado 5-4 with a power play goal shortly after. Edmonton responded with McDavid and Draisaitl combined to score Kassian’s tying goal afterwards. Draisaitl finished with four points and McDavid with three.

Lehkonen needed just 1:19 into the extra frame to score the game-winner, ending his night on three points.

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

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