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Star forward Connor McDavid scores twice as Oilers top Avalanche 6-2

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers punched their way into the post-season with authority on Friday night. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each scored a pair of goals as the Oilers clinched a playoff spot with a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado Avalanche's Devon Toews (7) and Cale Makar (8) battle for the puck with Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Friday April 5, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers punched their way into the post-season with authority on Friday night.

Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each scored a pair of goals as the Oilers clinched a playoff spot with a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Edmonton was 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,” said Kane. “It’s a nice feeling.”

Corey Perry and Mattias Ekholm also scored for the Oilers (46-24-5), who ended a two-game losing skid and improved to 9-0-1 in their last 10 games at home.

The Oilers were looking for a strong showing after a poor performance in their last outing, 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 Oilers assistant captain 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 replied for the Avalanche (48-23-6), who have lost four of their last six.

“We just weren’t good enough,” said Colorado coach Jared Bednar. “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.”

The Oilers outshot Colorado 46-23.

Edmonton got off to a hot start with a goal coming just 1:52 into the opening period when Perry tipped a Darnell Nurse shot past Avalanche goalie Alexander Georgiev for his 11th of the season.

The Avs tied it with eight minutes left in the first period as Nathan MacKinnon spotted Drouin in the slot and he beat Oilers starter Stuart Skinner glove side for his 18th goal of the campaign.

Colorado took the lead four minutes later as Colton squeezed past Edmonton defender 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 defenceman in that category in franchise history.

The Oilers made 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 defender Devon Toews and into the net for his 30th goal. It's the eighth consecutive season he has hit the milestone.

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 into the Colorado net for his 10th of the season. The play survived a video review for goaltender interference.

The Oilers scored with two seconds to play in the frame as a Ryan McLeod shot dropped out of Georgiev’s glove and hit Kane and went in. The goal, his 22nd of the season, ended a 21-game scoreless drought for Kane.

Edmonton padded its lead four minutes into the third period as Evan Bouchard made a deft pass back to McDavid and he directed it in for his second of the contest.

Kane picked up his second goal of the game with eight minutes remaining, banking it in off of traffic in front.


It was the second of three meetings between the two talented teams, with the final one taking place in Denver to close out regular-season play on April 18. Colorado scored in the last second of overtime to win 3-2 on March 16. ... The Avalanche got a pair of players back as Valeri Nichushkin (lower body) returned after missing four games and Yakov Trenin (undisclosed) rejoined the lineup after missing two games. Forward Chris Wagner was assigned to Colorado of the American Hockey League. … Draisaitl hit the 500-assist mark for his career.


Avalanche: Begin a three-game homestand against the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

Oilers: Will travel to Calgary to face the rival Flames on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2024. 

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press