Oliver Bjorkstrand, Kraken beat Avs, win first-round series
Field Level Media
May 1, 2023
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals, Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves, and the Seattle Kraken beat the defending champion Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals in Denver on Sunday night.
Yanni Gourde assisted on both goals for Seattle, which won three of the four games in Colorado in the series to advance to the second round.
The Kraken, who scored first in every game of the series, will face the Dallas Stars in the second round. That series begins Tuesday in Dallas.
Mikko Rantanen scored and Alexandar Georgiev turned away 25 shots for the Avalanche, who have lost six straight Game 7s since 2002.
Colorado played without Andrew Cogliano, who suffered a fracture in his neck in Game 6 on Friday.
The Avalanche held a 16-6 shot advantage in a dominant first period, but Grubauer kept them off the scoresheet with some big saves.
His team rewarded the effort early in the second period. Bjorkstrand had the puck in the corner and sent a backhander toward the front of the net where Brandon Tanev was parked. The puck deflected off two Colorado players and past Georgiev at 3:24.
Bjorkstrand made it 2-0 about four minutes later when Eeli Tolvanen chipped the puck past Devon Toews and out of his own zone. Bjorkstrand caught up to it at the Avalanche blue line, skated in on Georgiev and beat him with a shot to the far post at 7:22.
Colorado got the game's first power play late in the second and cashed in. Toews fed Nathan MacKinnon on the left dot, and his blast grazed off of Rantanen's pant leg and in at 19:32.
It was Rantanen's seventh of the playoffs and MacKinnon's 100th career postseason point.
The Avalanche appeared to tie it early in the third when MacKinnon scored on a slapshot from the slot, but Seattle successfully challenged that Artturi Lehkonen was offsides on the play, and the goal was wiped away.
Colorado continued to press but couldn't get one past Grubauer. Georgiev came off for an extra skater with 1:49 remaining, but the Avalanche couldn't get the equalizer.
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