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The Colorado Avalanche are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001.
Colorado’s Artturi Lehkonen got the game-winning goal past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith in overtime to give the Avalanche the 6-5 victory and the series sweep.
Lehkonen’s goal was reviewed for potential high sticking for a moment but the officials agreed it was a clean goal. It was Lehkonen’s sixth goal of the postseason and put the cap on an incredible comeback by Colorado.
The Avalanche came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
Colorado scored 31 seconds into the final period of regulation with a Devon Toews goal to cut the deficit to one. It was Toews’ fifth goal of the playoffs and came on assists from Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar. But about 3 1/2 minutes later, Edmonton scored again with Zach Hyman’s second of the game to go back up two goals, 4-2.
The Avalanche would strike back big.
Landeskog’s eighth goal of the postseason cut the deficit back to one and about 4 1/2 minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon tied the game at four goals apiece. The Avalanche thought they had the game-winner with Mikko Rantanen’s go-ahead goal at the 14:47 mark.
Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz couldn’t keep the one-goal lead.
Zack Kassian tied the game with a goal in front of the net and helped Edmonton force overtime.
Makar put Colorado on the board first 3:46 in the first period. Edmonton responded with three straight goals from Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid.
Francouz recorded 30 saves in the win over Edmonton. Smith had 35 saves.
Colorado now awaits the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers.
The last time the Avalanche were in the Final they won. Colorado defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games to win their second Cup.