Evander Kane had a hat-trick in the second period, scoring three out of the four goals in the period for the Oilers. With the win, the Edmonton Oilers officially clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avs had their chances to start off early with a couple of odd-man rushes involving Darren Helm and Logan O’Connor. Both were stopped nicely by Mike Smith. On a 3-on-1, Bowen Byram would find Valeri Nichushkin to rifle it home and take the lead.
Things looked good and perhaps the Avs could get back going. However, they couldn’t capitalize on their first power play of the night, a theme that would continue throughout the affair. Nonetheless, the Avs had the lead heading into the locker room.
Things immediately went the wrong way for the Avs. They let Connor McDavid in a 1-on-1 after giving it up. He handed it off to Kane who got the wraparound into the net cleanly to tie it at one. Things continued the wrong way as Evan Bouchard got his own rebound off the glass and in over Darcy Kuemper just a minute later.
However, Nichuhskin wasn’t done as he wristed his second shot of the night past Smith once again only a minute later. The 2-2 tie wouldn't last long after the Avs lost sight of the quick-moving puck by the Oilers and Kane put it home short-side for his second of the night.
Kane then finished off his hat-trick with a neat move through Josh Manson. Kuemper looked to have stopped it but it squeezed behind him and Manson put it into his own net afterward. It was Kane’s fourth career hat-trick to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead heading into the third.
Things continued for the worse as it was all Oilers putting the pressure on the Avs. The Avs could not get anything going forward at all, and Kailer Yamamoto made the chances count as he had a spin-o-rama goal past Kuemper just past the halfway mark.
The Avs got one back late on after pulling Kuemper when Nathan MacKinnon found the corner of the net through a screen in front from Nichushkin. But the Oilers turned right around with Kris Russell and put one into a gaping open net to seal the deal 6-3.
The Avs have not been good in the last week. It’s the first time they’ve lost three straight games since October earlier this year. In that October, the Avs team was shorthanded and they are once again right now. Nonetheless, it’s not the ideal way to be heading into the playoffs.
A bright light from the game was Nichushkin. With his two goals, he continues to show his excellence with his nice wrist shots past Smith. With the big Russian being a UFA at the end of this season, he will certainly have attention around his name thanks to this career resurgence. Joe Sakic needs to make it a priority to re-sign him as his value is only going up.
In the first period, Pavel Francouz on the bench took a puck right under the eye. He would quickly go get stitched up holding a bloody towel to his face. He wouldn't return to the bench and the Avs had an EBUG for the third time this season I believe. The Avs can’t even manage to stay healthy when they aren’t even playing. They just called up Justus Annunen which isn’t a good sign for Francouz.
The #Avs have recalled Justus Annunen, which isn’t a great sign for Pavel Francouz, who took a puck to the face last night.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) April 23, 2022
The Avs finish out the road trip against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday. Puck drop is at 5:00 p.m. MT.