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Recap: Avalanche top Oilers in overtime in great game

Mar 16, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal scored by forward Arthur Lehkonen (62) during overtime against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche came into this game after coming back against the Vancouver Canucks to win in overtime 4-3. It was their fifth straight win and was on the second leg of a back-to-back with the Calgary Flames.

Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers were on a little streak themselves, having won their last two in their propelling up the standings. They beat the brakes off the Washington Capitals 7-2 on Wednesday night and were looking to end the winning streak of one of the hottest teams in the league.

First Period

The first period was all-even and filled with donuts on the scoreboard. The first and third lines in particular for Colorado did well to move the puck and force saves out of Stuart Skinner, but nothing got by him.

The same can be said about Alexandar Georgiev at the other end as well. The Oilers led in shots on net in the period, including a great wraparound chance for Connor McDavid which was stopped nicely by both him and Sam Girard.

Colorado couldn’t convert after Josh Manson drew a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hooking penalty, with Edmonton getting in the way. They ended the period with 18 blocked shots, including a breakup of a 2-on-1 with Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin in the final seconds to keep it scoreless.

Second Period

After killing off an early Mikko Rantanen slashing penalty, the Avs had to hold off some Edmonton pressure. They had an extra pep in their step as they looked for the first goal. But first, they’d have to stop a Johnathan Drouin penalty shot, which Skinner did successfully.

At the other end, Georgiev was up to the task with two big saves on Nugent-Hopkins along with several others. Chances would start to come, with Nathan MacKinnon going on a solo rush only to be stopped, while at the other end, Evander Kane hit the post on a 3-on-1.

Something had to give eventually. Luckily, it would break in Colorado’s favor. Artturi Lehkonen dished a brilliant pass through pressure to a streaking Sean Walker, who beat Skinner for his first goal in an Avalanche jersey and got the lead.

Colorado kept getting looks at the net, with chances from Zach Parise, Ross Colton, and Casey Mittelstadt all just unable to find the twine. But we wouldn’t end the period without a little drama, with Josh Manson and Vincent Desharnais throwing some punches. They would spend the first five minutes of the final frame in the box, with the road team looking to hang on to their one-goal lead.

Third Period

Zach Hyman looked to have tied up the game early in the period in a tie-up in front. But, he kicked the puck in and it was quickly reviewed and called back for offsides.

But, they didn’t have to wait long to find a good goal. Warren Foegele was able to deflect the puck down low and beat the glove of Georgiev and evened up the score at one.

The Avalanche then proceeded to hit not one, not two, but three posts afterward as they looked for the lead once again. Despite all the bad luck, luck would find Sam Carrick in front for his first goal as an Oiler to take the lead.

Hence, the Avs had to fight and dig for an equalizer. The second line did a good job forcing the Oilers back, particularly Mittelstadt. He was able to get the puck and hold on to find a streaking Walker into the slot to put it home and even it up at two.

Both teams were looking for a late winner and had their chances. Colorado also thought they had another late power play with the puck going over the glass from the Oilers, but it was deflected and so we went into overtime at even strength.

Overtime

Nugent-Hopkins had a perfect look early on in the additional time on a breakaway but was stonewalled by Georgiev.

Walker had the same look at the other end looking to finish his hat-trick, but he missed the net. It took 4:59, but MacKinnon found Lehkonen on a little backhand pass in front, and it went in and out of the net so fast, but it led the Avs to a phenomenal 3-2 win.

Yeti Takeaways

If this game didn’t go to five-minute overtime, if you showed this game to anyone they’d think this was a playoff game. It felt exactly like one with the energy, tenacity, and action for all 65 minutes of ice time for both teams. They went punch-for-punch, blow-for-blow throughout the game and it literally came down to the wire, with every last second needed to decide this game. This is the first of three games against the Oilers in the final 15 games for the Avs, and we can only hope we see similar play styles and results down the line,

Some notable players to mention: Walker with two goals led the way in regulation, especially with his connection with Mittelstadt on the second goal. He has been stellar, and he is slotting in brilliantly with the team already. MacKinnon only registered one point in the game, and it was none other than the primary assist on the game-winner. He beat out Connor McDavid in this game, who didn’t register a single point in the game. Finally, Georgiev deserves a ton of applause for making some crucial saves, matching his opposite in the other crease, and a massive part of keeping Edmonton out of the net in the third in particular.

Not only is every game against the Oilers a big one for the Avs, but at this point in the season it really matters – even if they are not in the same division. Particularly for Colorado, it keeps them in touch with the top of the Central Division. The Dallas Stars beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 earlier Saturday evening, and the sixth-straight win for Colorado puts them even with the Stars on 91 points. With more games in hand and owning the tiebreaker over Dallas, they are tied for first. This team knows what it takes to win, and they are showing it with everybody chipping in right now up and down the lineup.

Next on the Mountain

The road trip wraps up Tuesday night in the Gateway to the West against the St. Louis Blues. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. MT.

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