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Edmonton Oilers swept by Colorado Avalanche in NHL West Final

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Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:19 into overtime on Monday night to give the Colorado Avalanche a 6-5 win and four-game sweep of the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL’s Western Conference Final.

Colorado Avalanche celebrate the win over the Edmonton Oilers during overtime NHL conference finals action in Edmonton on Monday, June 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

“There’s no participation medal,” Oilers goaltender Mike Smith said after the game.

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“We’re a hungry group, but there’s a long road to even get back into the playoffs next year, and then the grind begins,” Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse said as he reflected on his team’s season.

The Avalanche took the lead before the game was four minutes old. With Oilers forward Zack Kassian in the box for slashing, Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar picked the top corner with a point shot for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

“I thought it was a cautious start for us,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.

“I thought that game felt like a boxing match with two good teams throwing punches.”

The Oilers couldn’t muster a goal on two power-play attempts.

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Read more: Depleted Edmonton Oilers fight to stay alive in NHL Western Conference final

It took the Oilers over seven minutes to get a shot on goal in the second but they made it count. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl fed Zach Hyman streaking to the net. Hyman went to the backhand for his 10th.

Edmonton Oilers’ Dylan Holloway (36), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93), Zack Kassian (44) and Evan Bouchard (75) celebrate a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during second period NHL conference finals action in Edmonton on Monday, June 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Oilers scored twice 1:57 apart late in the second. Logan O’Connor’s turnover sent Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in on a breakaway. He scored on a backhand for his sixth.

Connor McDavid snapped a power-play shot in off the post to make it 3-1 Edmonton after two.

“I like that there was no quit,” McDavid said.

“Nobody quit on each other, and that’s always a good sign. But we let it get away.”

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Read more: Edmonton Oilers fall behind 3-0 in West Final to Avalanche

The Avs scored 31 seconds into the third when Devon Toews’ shot went in off Cody Ceci’s leg.

Hyman replied with his second of the night, sending a one-timer past Avalanche netminder Pavel Francouz.

“Our group pushed as hard as we could,” Woodcroft said.

“We emptied the tank with everything we had and it’s a credit to Colorado for the game they played tonight.”

With 11:02 remaining, Smith’s clearing attempt hit the referee, allowing the Avs to keep the puck in. Gabriel Landeskog would score to pull the Avs within one again.

Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal as Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith (41) looks to the ref during third period NHL conference finals action in Edmonton on Monday, June 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

“Momentum is a crazy thing in the playoffs, and it was no different tonight,” Smith said. “We had the lead and it seems like when we got the lead, they’d come at us in waves, and we couldn’t withstand that.

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“We couldn’t get the saves or the bounces, and ultimately they get another break at the end and win the series.”

Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon blazed down the right side and tied it 4-4 with 6:30 on the clock.

The Oilers didn’t go away. Francouz couldn’t control Draisaitl’s shot, and Kassian whacked in the rebound with 3:22 on the clock.

“I don’t think anyone necessarily expected us to be here, and with that being said, we expected to be here and we want to be here and to get even further,” Draisaitl said.

“I’m proud of the group, but obviously it’s very disappointing and it sucks right now.”

Colorado Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog (92) skates past as the Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal during third period NHL conference finals action in Edmonton on Monday, June 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

In overtime, Lehkonen tipped a high point shot on goal and then put in his own rebound. The officials reviewed the play to make sure Lehkonen didn’t touch the puck with a high stick.

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“It was a 50-50 faceoff. We got beat to the net, the puck got tipped and they found a way,” Woodcroft said of the deciding goal.

Draisaitl had four assists. Makar had a goal and four assists.

Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl (29) is injured during second period NHL conference finals action against the Colorado Avalanche, in Edmonton on Monday, June 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Avalanche will play either the New York Rangers or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.

“Our goal is to win a Stanley Cup, and if you don’t get there or fail to get a crack at it, you’re disappointed,” Draisaitl said.

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“We took a step, but we also know how hard it is to get back to this point, so we have to make sure we come in next season and we’re ready to go.”

–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED

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