Avalanche beat Oilers 4-2 to take 3-0 series lead

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — J.T. 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 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Called for tripping Leon Draisaitl just three minutes after Ryan McLeod tied it Edmonton, Compher came out of the penalty box, beat Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse for control along the boards and put the puck between goalie Mike Smith’s legs.

Valeri Nichushkin scored twice for Colorado, Mikko Rantanen had an empty-netter with 30 seconds left, and Pavel Francouz made 27 saves. Francouz stepped in midway through the Colorado’s 8-6 victory in Game 1 when Darcy Kuemper sustained an upper-body injury, then made 24 saves Thursday night in a 4-0 win for his second career playoff shutout.

McLeod tied at 2 at 7:34 of the third, going the length of the ice and beating Francouz with a snap shot from the high slot.

Connor McDavid also scored for Edmonton. Smith made 39 saves.

Game 4 is Monday night in Edmonton, with Colorado a game away from advancing to the Stanley Cup final. The Avalanche won titles in 1996 and 2007.

McDavid opened the scoring 38 seconds into the game, beating Francouz to the far side with a wrist shot.

Edmonton then killed a five-minute penalty on Evander Kane for boarding Nazim Kadri just 28 seconds after McDavid’s goal, and stopped the Avalanche power play again midway through the period after Nurse was called for shooting the puck over the glass.

Nichushkin scored on two fortunate deflections to give Colorado the lead. He tied it with 3:48 left in the first period when his centering pass deflected in off Nurse. Then at 4:37 of the second, Nichushkin controlled a deflection off a shot from the point and fired a wrist shot through defenseman Evan Bouchard’s legs and past the screened Smith.

Colorado killed off Nathan MacKinnon’s tripping penalty late in the second, and Edmonton stopped the Avalanche’s power play again early in the third with Leon Draisaitl off for high-sticking.

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