Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid celebrates scoring the game-winning goal during overtime NHL hockey action against the Colorado Avalanche in Edmonton, Thursday. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Connor McDavid scores winner, Oilers beat Avalanche 3-2 in overtime

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers weren’t about to let another 2-0 lead slip away.

Connor McDavid scored in overtime and added an assist as the Oilers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, just two days after seeing a 2-0 third-period lead evaporate in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins.

“Going into the third, we didn’t want to repeat the result we had from the previous game,” said Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson. “They made a push, but I thought we answered it today. I thought we did a lot of good things. Even when they scored, we still felt like we had some momentum and we didn’t lose that, we just kept battling and it paid off.”

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and set up McDavid’s winner while Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers (25-31-4), who won for just the second time in their last nine games.

“From an offensive perspective, he was a force,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on Draisaitl, who now has 54 points in 56 games this season. “He used his body very well and accelerated out of protecting the puck where he could push off and create space for himself. Really on both goals, that was nice to see. I thought that line started slow and got going as the night went on and Leon was a big part of it.”

Samuel Girard and Colin Wilson replied for the Avalanche (32-23-5), who have lost three of their last four.

“It wasn’t a great game by us,” said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. “I think they had a good game, I don’t think we did. For me I think we’re lucky to get a point out of that I don’t think it was a great team effort by us.”

The Oilers certainly had the bulk of the pressure in the scoreless first period, putting 19 shots on Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov to seven by the Avalanche on Edmonton starter Cam Talbot.

Edmonton broke the deadlock three minutes into the second period as Draisaitl put on a clinic, undressing Mikko Rantanen before beating Varlamov up high with a backhander for this 18th of the season.

A few minutes later, Varlamov was able to stop McDavid on a clear breakaway and later in the period did the same on Edmonton forward Anton Slepyshev.

Edmonton made it 2-0 with five-and-a-half minutes to play in the middle frame when Mark Letestu hooked a shot in front to help Kassian score his seventh of the campaign.

Colorado got a goal back with 19 seconds remaining in the second when a Girard point shot hit the post and caromed into the Edmonton net.

The Avalanche tied the game just 50 seconds into the third period when a pass deflected off an Oilers defender to Wilson, who scored his sixth to eventually send the game to extra time.

Both teams are back at it on Saturday, as the Avalanche conclude a three-game trip in Calgary and the Oilers head to Los Angeles to play the Kings.

Notes: It was the third and final meeting of the season between the two teams, having split the two previous encounters… Out of the lineup for the Oilers for were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (upper body), Andrej Sekera (head), Patrick Maroon (lower body) and Drake Caggiula (illness)… Absent for the Avalanche were Vladislav Kamenev (arm), Mark Barberio (lower body), Jonathan Bernier (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper body), Sven Andrighetto (leg) and Anton Lindholm (upper body).

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