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Avalanche score eight, hold off Oilers in Game 1 of Western Final

DENVER — Cala Makar had a goal and two assists for the Colorado Avalanche in an 8-6 win against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Ball Arena on Tuesday.

JT Compher scored twice, and Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnonand Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

“I liked our checking game for the most part. We were unfortunate on a couple plays,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “It felt like when we made mistakes, they capitalized on them. We have to make less mistakes, but we did get unfortunate on a couple goals, in my opinion.”

Darcy Kümper made 13 saves before he left the game at 7:19 of the second period because of an upper-body injury. Pavel Françouz made 18 saves in relief.

Asked if Kuemper is day to day, Bednar said, “We’ll see.”

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here on Thursday.

“I have a lot of faith in [Francouz]. So does our team,” Bednar said. “So, having a guy like that is obviously key. See through the playoffs how many teams are onto their second goalie and some teams’ third and trying to survive. You’ve got to have capable goaltending from more than one guy, and we have it.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Oilers series coverage]

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists, and Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division.

“We scored six goals on their goaltending tandem tonight in their building. That should be enough to win the game,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “For me, there are things we have to do in terms of preventing. Sometimes I think it’s not about what you get, it’s about what you’ve given up, and we gave up far too much tonight.”

mike smith made allowed six goals on 25 shots before being replaced at 6:20 of the second. mikko koskinen made 20 saves in relief.

Smith was also pulled in Game 1 of the second round, when he allowed three goals on 10 shots in the first period of a 9-6 loss to the Calgary Flames on May 18.

“Obviously when you’re giving up touchdowns in the last two series in Game 1, I think that’s not a good sign,” Smith said. “But I think it shows a lot of our team that when we’re down, we’re not out of the fight and continue to battle right to the end and play for each other.”

Video: EDM@COL, Gm1: Kane, Compher score within 36 seconds

Kane gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead at 5:04 of the first when he finished a breakaway with a shot over Kuemper’s left shoulder, but Compher tied it 36 ​​seconds later at 5:40 on a 2-on-1 to make it 1-1.

MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead at 15:10 when he cut between defensemen Darnell Nurse and cody ceci and beat Smith five-hole.

Zach Hyman extended his goal streak to six games on a redirection at 19:37 to make it 2-2, but Makar gave Colorado a 3-2 lead nine seconds later with a wrist shot from the top of the left face-off circle at 19: 46.

The Oilers challenged that the Avalanche were offside, but the goal stood.

“They looked at it,” Woodcroft said. “We felt the player had control of the puck, didn’t know (if) there was an offside player (Colorado forward Valeri Nichushkin). We thought it was the right move to challenge that call. Didn’t go our way. That stuff happens.”

Video: EDM@COL, Gm1: Makar skates in and rips in a shot

nazem kadri scored on his own rebound for a power-play goal 32 seconds into the second period to make it 4-2.

Ryan McLeod cut it to 4-3 at 2:59, but Rantanen scored from the top of the right circle at 4:38 to make it 5-3.

Compher scored again at 6:20 on a redirection of Makar’s shot to give the Avalanche a 6-3 lead.

“I think it’s just a good one for us tonight,” Compher said. “We’re going to have some stuff to clean up. A lot of guys chipped in offensively tonight, but I think we have a lot to clean up defensively.”

Video: EDM@COL, Gm1: Rantanen snipes shot from the circle

Andrew Cogliano made it 7-3 when he finished a 2-on-1 with Logan O’Connor at 16:20, but McDavid cut it to 7-4 with a one-timer from the left circle 31 seconds later at 16:51.

Derek Ryan made it 7-5 with a wrist shot from between the circles at 3:28 of the third period, and Nugent-Hopkins cut it to 7-6 with a power-play goal at 12:36.

Landeskog scored an empty-net goal with 22 seconds left for the 8-6 final.

“They’re a real good team. You give them chances, they’re going to bear down and score,” McDavid said. “We’ve got to defend. At the same time, we found a way to get six, so it was real similar to Game 1 last round.”

Video: EDM@COL, Gm1: McDavid buries a feed from the circle

NOTES: The 14 goals were one shy of tying the record for any game this late in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Oilers defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 10-5 in Game 5 of the 1985 Campbell Conference Final, and Chicago won 8-7 against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the 1973 Stanley Cup Final. … The Avalanche tied their record for the most goals scored in a playoff game (Game 2 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers, and Game 2 of the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks). It’s the third time this postseason they’ve scored at least seven goals. … Draisaitl had at least two assists for the sixth straight game, the longest such streak in NHL postseason history. … Kane leads the NHL with 13 goals in the playoffs.

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