McDavid, Kane help Oilers beat Avalanche 6-2 to clinch playoff berth

EDMONTON, Alberta — Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each scored two goals, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 Friday night to clinch a playoff spot.

Corey Perry and Mattias Ekholm also scored for the Oilers, who ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games at home. Stuart Skinner stopped 21 shots.

The Oilers were 10 points out of a playoff spot in late November.

“Things weren’t looking great, but we had the belief that we could turn it around and we did that,” Kane said. “It’s a nice feeling.”

The Oilers were looking for a strong showing after a listless 5-0 loss in Dallas on Wednesday.

“Much needed. Not the team or the game that we are, or we want to show, on a daily basis,” said Leon Draisaitl, who had two assists. “The most important thing is how you respond, and that’s something over the last couple years — including the playoffs — that this team does really, really well. Respond to poor efforts or bad games.”

Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton had goals for the Avalanche, who have lost four of their last six. Alexandar Georgiev finished with 41 saves as the Avalanche were outshot 46-23.

“We just weren’t good enough,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “It happens every once in a while, it happened tonight. They were twice as good as us, with twice as many shots, more than twice as many goals.”

Edmonton got off to a fast start with a goal just 1:52 into the game when Perry tipped Darnell Nurse’s shot past Georgiev for his 11th of the season.

The Avalanche tied it with 8:02 left in the first period as Nathan MacKinnon spotted Drouin in the slot and he beat Skinner glove side for his 18th.

Colorado surged in front four minutes later as a hard-skating Colton was able to squeeze past Ekholm on the boards and cut in front before scoring his 16th of the season stick-side past Skinner. Cale Makar’s assist gave him 83 points and moved him past Steve Duchesne for the second-most by a defenseman in franchise history.

The Oilers tied it 2-2 with 2:42 to play in the first as a shot caromed to McDavid behind the net and he was able to bank it off the skate of Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews and into the net for his 30th. It’s the eighth consecutive season he has hit the milestone.

Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist to hit the 100-point mark for the fifth time in his career.

The Avalanche had some cause for concern early in the second period as Ekholm hit Mikko Rantanen hard along the boards. The Colorado forward, who has 102 points this season, left the game looking wobbly and did not return.

“All I saw was one quick replay,” Bednar said. “He clearly catches him high, he catches his head. My first look at the replay didn’t look like it was intentional, it just kind of caught him wrong.”

Ekholm said he felt he stopped right before the hit.

“I could have gone right through him, but I thought I let up,” he said. “Still, it is hard for him when he doesn’t see me coming. Hopefully he will be all right, but in my opinion it was a hockey play.”

Edmonton moved back in front at 8:55 when Ekholm put a puck on net and the rebound hit a defender and went in for his 10th. The play survived a video review for goaltender interference.

Edmonton scored with 2 seconds to play in the period as Ryan McLeod’s shot dropped out of Georgiev’s glove and hit Kane and went in. Kane’s 22nd of the season snapped a 21-game scoreless drought.

The Oilers padded their lead 4:05 into the third as Evan Bouchard made a deft pass back to McDavid and he directed it in for his second of the night.

Kane picked up his second goal of the game with 8:01 remaining, banking it in off traffic in front.

The Avalanche got two players back as Valeri Nichushkin (lower body) returned after missing the last four games and Yakov Trenin (undisclosed) rejoined the lineup after missing two games.


Avalanche: Host Dallas on Sunday to begin a three-game homestand.

Oilers: At Calgary on Saturday.



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