Oilers 6 Avalanche 3
EDMONTON — Evander Kane had three goals and an assist and Connor McDavid had three assists as the Edmonton Oilers clinched a playoff berth with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.
Evan Bouchard, Kailer Yamamoto and Kris Russell also scored for the Oilers (46-26-6), who have won four in a row and improved to 12-0-1 in their last 13 games on home ice.
Valeri Nichushkin had two goals and Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the Western Conference-leading Avalanche (55-17-6). Colorado has dropped three in a row and lost for just the second time this season when leading after the first period.
Colorado started the scoring about eight minutes into the opening period on a three-on-one break, as a trailing Nichushkin took a pass from Bowen Byram and beat Oilers starter Mike Smith.
Edmonton’s penalty kill delivered by stopping a lengthy five-on-three advantage to start the second period. Momentum shifted the Oilers’ way as a result, with McDavid dropping a pass to Kane, who swung behind the net and caught Colorado goalie Darcy Kuemper out of position on a wraparound.
The Oilers took the lead just 1:22 later as a Bouchard shot went high off the boards and off the top of the net before he followed up his own shot and batted it in.
However, just 15 seconds later, Nichushkin scored his second of the game and 24th of the season on a wrist shot that beat Smith on the stick side.
Edmonton made it 3-2 eight minutes into the second period as Duncan Keith found Kane at the side of the net.
Kane recorded his fourth career hat trick with 5:46 left in the second period as he made a nice deke before his shot trickled over the line for his 20th goal in 39 games this season.
Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second and did not return.
Edmonton padded its lead with nine minutes remaining as Yamamoto scored on a backhand spin-o-rama. McDavid’s assist on the play gave him a league-leading 116 points on the season, matching a career high.
MacKinnon got a late goal for the Avs with their goalie on the bench. Russell iced it with an empty-net goal 27 seconds later.
Both teams return to action on Sunday. The Oilers travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets and the Avalanche are in Winnipeg to play the Jets.
Notes: Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi missed the game with an illness. … Missing from the Colorado lineup were Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Ryan Murray (upper body), Devon Toews (undisclosed), Mikko Rantanen (illness) and Erik Johnson (undisclosed). Andrew Cogliano returned after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. … Avs backup goalie Pavel Francouz got hit by a puck on the bench early in the first period and left the game. University of Alberta goalie Matt Berlin was called upon to take his place on an emergency basis.