Defending champ Avs force Game 7 with 4-1 win over Kraken
SEATTLE (AP) — Mikko Rantanen scored his seventh goal of the playoffs, Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, including an empty-net goal in the closing seconds, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Seattle Kraken 4-1 on Friday night to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
Rantanen scored in the final seconds of the first period, tying it at 1 after Seattle posted the first goal yet again. The Avalanche then dominated the final two periods, flashing some of what made them Stanley Cup champs a season ago.
Erik Johnson scored his first of the playoffs on a deflected shot 7:21 into the second. Lehkonen redirected Devon Toews’ slap pass at 16:57 to give Colorado a 3-1 lead. Toews had two assists, as did Cale Makar after being suspended for Game 5.
Game 7 will be Sunday in Denver. It’s the first Game 7 in franchise history for Seattle and the first for the Avalanche since the second round of the 2020 playoffs in the bubble when Colorado lost to Dallas.
Vince Dunn became the 14th different player to score a goal for Seattle this postseason when he slipped a slap shot past Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev at 15:48 of the first. Dunn was second in points for Seattle during the regular season but had been held without a point until scoring his third career playoff goal.
But Georgiev’s night was mostly quiet, although he made big stops on Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jaden Schwartz in the final minutes. Georgiev finished with 22 saves.
Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer was peppered all night and only some spectacular saves kept the score from getting out of hand. Grubauer finished with 35 stops.
Colorado played in its first elimination game since Game 6 of the 2021 conference semifinals when the Avs were eliminated by Vegas. One of the more impressive parts of Colorado’s run to the Stanley Cup last year was its ability to control every series.
But Seattle’s win in Game 5 put Colorado in a precarious position and the Avs responded with their most complete performance of the series.
Seattle became the first team to take the lead in each of its first six playoff games in franchise history. The 1918 Toronto Arenas took the lead in their first five playoff games. Seattle matched that in Game 5 and surpassed it in Game 6.
Colorado appeared to score the opening goal on a shot from Bowen Byrum, but the goal was overturned after Seattle successfully challenged for offside.
Seattle played without leading scorer Jared McCann for the second straight game. McCann was hurt on a check from Makar in Game 4 that led to his suspension. ... Seattle F Matty Beniers was called for just the second penalty of his career on a tripping call in the second period.
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