EDMONTON, Alta. (AP) — JT Compher came out of the penalty box to give Colorado the lead with 7:18 left and the Avalanche beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Saturday night to take a 3-point lead. -0 in the Western Conference Finals.
Called for tripping Leon Draisaitl just three minutes after Ryan McLeod tied Edmonton, Compher came out of the box, beat Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard for control along the boards and placed the puck between the legs of goaltender Mike Smith.
Valeri Nichushkin scored twice for Colorado, Mikko Rantanen had an empty goal with 30 seconds left and Pavel Francouz made 27 saves. Francouz came on midway through Colorado’s 8-6 Game 1 win when Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury and then made 24 saves Thursday night in a 4-0 win for his second shutout in playoff career.
McLeod tied it at 2 at 7:34 of the third, going the length of the ice and beating Francouz with an instant shot from the high slot.
Connor McDavid also scored for Edmonton. Smith made 39 saves.
Game 4 is Monday night in Edmonton, with Colorado one game away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche won titles in 1996 and 2007.
McDavid opened the scoring after 38 seconds, beating Francouz on the other side with a wrist shot.
Edmonton then gave Evander Kane a five-minute penalty for tackling Nazim Kadri just 28 seconds after McDavid’s goal, and again stopped the Avalanche’s power play midway through the period after the Avalanche defenseman Oilers Darnell Nurse was called for shooting the puck over the glass.
Nichushkin scored on two lucky deflections to give Colorado the lead. He tied the game with 3:48 left in the first period when his cross pass deflected off Nurse. Then at 4:37 of the second, Nichushkin controlled a deflection of a point shot that hit teammate Nathan MacKinnon and landed a wrist shot through Bouchard’s legs and past Smith onscreen.
Colorado killed MacKinnon’s tripping penalty late in the second, and Edmonton stopped the Avalanche’s power play again early in the third with Leon Draisaitl for a high stick.
Only four NHL teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series. The Los Angeles Kings were the last to accomplish the feat in the first round of the 2014 playoffs against San Jose.