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Avalanche escapes Edmonton with OT victory on Artturi Lehkonen’s last-second game-winner

EDMONTON — Artturi Lehkonen scored with less than a second remaining in overtime to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, at Rogers Place in one of the best games of the NHL season.

Nathan MacKinnon threw the puck toward the net from the right wall in the dying seconds and Lehkonen was there to pounce. MacKinnon deflected a long pass from Cale Makar into the Edmonton zone and it appeared this highly competitive contest would reach the shootout.

But Lehkonen beat Leon Draisaitl to the front of the Oilers net and scored from nearly the same spot he did to end the 2022 Western Conference Final and send the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Final.

“Not much, honestly,” MacKinnon said when asked what he saw on the final sequence. “I knew I wouldn’t have much time left and I just kind of threw it there. Luckily, it went right on his tape. Yeah, lucky play.”

Sean Walker scored twice and Alexandar Georgiev made 32 saves to help the Avs sweep through their Western Canada road trip. Colorado has now won six games in a row, including all four since the Avalanche added four new players to the lineup and Valeri Nichushkin returned from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

The Avs are within a point of the Vancouver Canucks for the top spot in the West, though Dallas is also at 91 points with one more game played and Winnipeg is two points back with two games in hand.

Walker scored his first goal with the Avalanche to give Colorado the lead midway through the second period. Lehkonen’s perfectly weighted pass found Walker streaking into the zone, and he snapped a shot past Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner.

He scored for a second time with 5:32 remaining in the third to rally the Avs after the Oilers had grabbed the lead with two tallies in the period. Fellow newcomer Casey Middelstadt came out from behind the net to the right of the goalie and fed Walker cutting towards the cage for a one-timer a little more than three minutes after Edmonton went ahead.

Walker has earned plenty of praise from coach Jared Bednar and his teammates for how fleet afoot he is and how willing he is to join the offensive attack. It’s been a strong fit through the first four games since he arrived from Philadelphia for a 2025 first-round pick and Ryan Johansen.

“We liked (the new players) right out of the gate, and every game I think they just get a little more accustomed to what we’re doing, where they fit. We’re starting to see their personalities come out. That’s what you want. That’s why the deadline is when it is, so you can get them integrated with your team and everyone feels like a family before you start the playoffs.”

Lehkonen’s pass to spring Jonathan Drouin for a breakaway earlier in the period might have been even better. Drouin was hooked on the play and earned a penalty shot, but Skinner turned it aside.

Edmonton thought it had tied the game early in the third period, but Zach Hyman clearly kicked the puck into the net. The Oilers kept pushing, controlling the next several minutes. Colorado had a couple of chances on the counter but couldn’t convert and Warren Foegele did level the score at 5:46 of the third. He deflected a shot from the right point by Evan Bouchard.

One of the Oilers’ newcomers, Sam Carrick, gave Edmonton the lead when he found a loose puck in front of Alexandar Georgiev. The play started when Corey Perry lost his stick in a skirmish with Josh Manson, but Perry was able to kick the puck to Mattias Janmark and collected a second assist for his efforts.

Colorado played well in the opening period, but found a way to put more pressure on the goaltender in the middle frame. The Avalanche had 16 shots on goal in the period after just seven in the opening 20 minutes.

The first period was one of the fastest-paced 20 minutes of the season. Neither team scored, but there were as many high-level defensive plays as scoring chances. Edmonton is a much-improved team at that end of the ice, particularly since an early-season coaching change. The Oilers blocked 18 shot attempts in the opening period, and also were able to get in the way of several potentially dangerous passes as well.

“All in all, that’s a well-played hockey game by two really good teams,” Bednar said. “Both were committed to the checking side of it. Offensively, you had to work for it, no question.”

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