Colorado in the Stanley Cup final!

Get out the brooms, the Colorado Avalanche team is in the Stanley Cup final! With a 4-0 series win, Nathan MacKinnon’s side finished the job on the night of June 7, 2022 against the Edmonton Oilers to reach the finals for the first time since the award-winning 2001 supreme in hockey at the time. Repeat again ?

For Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Stanley Cup playoffs in this 2021-2022 season have a taste similar to previous years: that of unfinished business. Except that, this time, the Canadian team went to a round of the finals, hoped for by an entire city. Blame it on a Colorado Avalanche team, which crushed everything in its path. Blame it on a full squad which, for a period, gave Edmonton a glimpse of the possibility of winning a game to bring the series to 3-1. Without success. MacKinnon, Makar and Landeskog’s team was too strong in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

It all started with Cale Makar. The defender trained at UMass from 2017 to 2019 took advantage of Edmonton’s indiscipline to score a wrist shot from the blue line in a numerical superiority sequence where the Edmonton team appeared completely helpless. This formation was not at the end of its sorrows, because the evening turned to the advantage of number 8, author of 5 points in a game, the first defender to accomplish this in a decisive game for a series.

Still, the Edmonton Oilers thought they had some respite. Connor McDavid showed off his talent early in the second half by attempting a spin-o-rama on Pavel Francouz. The action, presumptuous, was stopped by Francouz but a few seconds later, the light came from Leon Draisantl who on the left side of the ice, managed to attract the Edmonton players to leave the center in front of the slot free for Zach Hyman. After returning to 1-1, the Oilers plant two more goals in this second period to leave the score at 3-1 after 40 minutes of play.

A hockey game lasting 60 minutes, the Colorado team knew they had to give everything at the start of the third period. Thing done after 31 seconds of play when Devon Toews takes advantage of a lucky rebound on the ankle of Cody Ceci to bring the score to 3-2. The reaction comes two minutes later, with Zach Hyman again, during a counter-attack where he concludes his one timer in the opposing right corner. But three times, the Colorado Avalanche will then score: in turn, Landeskog, MacKinnon and Rantanen, in powerplay will light the opposing lamp to thrill the 18,347 spectators at Rogers Place. The hardest part seemed done, it was without counting on a new reversal. With nearly three minutes remaining in regulation time, Zach Kassian equalized at 5-5.

Direction extra time, which will be very short: after a face-off won, the puck is placed in the butt of Cale Makar who attempts a shot. Mike Smith stops him but Artturi Lehkonen takes his chance on the rebound and takes the opportunity to score his sixth goal of the playoffs, and complete the series.

As fate knows how to be tender, it is a player exchanged under the leadership of Joe Sakic, the GM and former player of the champion team in 2001, who scores the winning goal. Accustomed to clutch shots, Lehkonen also sent the Montreal Canadiens to the final last season. Author of an evening with 5 points (4 assists and 1 goal), Cale Makar has once again proven that you have to count on him to go to the end. “You’re going to the biggest hockey stage in the world, and it’s exciting. We give everything we have during a game and we focus on the next stage. This is what has made this team successful so far this year. We don’t look too far. We stay in the moment”he says at the end of the match.

On the Oilers side, the situation is less tender. Without an elite goaltender, it is impossible to go where Alberta team fans want to go, especially with a worrying level of player injuries, visible on the ice, particularly Leon Draisaitl. “A lot of guys have played despite some injuries”, even said the German after the game. Let’s hope that the free agent period can give Ken Holland some keys to remedy this, at the risk of going down the drain again.

The Colorado Avalanche will face the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final.

(An article by Thomas Woloch)

Edmonton Oilers – Colorado Avalanche 5-6 after overtime (0-1, 3-0, 2-4, 0-1)
Monday, June 6, 2022 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. 18,347 spectators.
Penalties: Edmonton 20′ (2′, 2’+10′, 6′), Colorado 37′ (4′, 6’+5’+20′, 2′).
Shots: Edmonton 28 (6, 13, 9), Colorado 32 (10, 9, 13).

Score evolution:
0-1 at 03’46 »: Makar assisted by Lehkonen (digital over)
1-1 at 27’39 »: Hyman assisted by Draisaitl and Nurse
2-1 at 36’57 »: Nugent-Hopkins
3-1 at 38’54 »: McDavid assisted by Draisaitl and Barrie (num. sup.)
3-2 at 40’31 »: Toews assisted by Landeskog and Makar
4-2 at 43’55 »: Hyman assisted by Draisaitl and McDavid
4-3 at 48’58 »: Landeskog
4-4 at 53’30 »: Mackinnon assisted by Lehkonen and Makar
4-5 at 54’47 »: Rantanen assisted by Makar and Landeskog (num. sup.)
5-5 at 56’38 »: Kassian assisted by Draisaitl and McDavid
5-6 at 61’19 »: Lehkonen assisted by Makar and Helm

Edmonton Oilers

Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi
Dylan Holloway – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Zach Hyman
Warren Foegele – Ryan McLeod – Derek Ryan (2′)
Brad Malone – Devin Shore – Zack Kassian (2′)

Darnell Nurse – Cody Ceci
Duncan Keith – Evan Bouchard
Brett Kulak – Tyson Barrie

Guardian :
mike smith

Substitute: Mikko Koskinen (G). Out: Oscar Klefbom (shoulder), Evander Kane (suspended for charging Kadri against the boards in Game 3), Kailer Yamamoto (concussion after a Landeskog charge in Game 2).

Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog (2′) – Nathan MacKinnon (2′) – Valery Nichushkin
Artturi Lehkonen – Mikko Rantanen – André Burakovsky
Alex Newhook (2′) – JT Compher – Nicolas Aubé-Kudel
Andrew Cogliano – Darren Helm (2′) – Logan O’Connor

Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Jack JohnsonJosh Manson
Bowen Byram – Erik Johnson (2′)

Guardian :
Pavel Francouz

Substitute: Darcy Kuemper (G). Absent: Ryan Murray (hand), Samuel Girard (broken sternum), Nazem Kadri (thumb).

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