NHL Playoffs: Avalanche beat Oilers 8-6 in laughable defensive showing

colorado avalanche
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates his goal with left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) and right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) and defenseman Cale Makar (8) and defenseman Devon Toews (7) in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Playoffs Western Conference series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers kicked off with a goal-fest in Game 1.

In a game that saw 14 total goals, the Avs were able to outlast the Oilers by an 8-6 score. A contest that was so void of defense and goaltending that the great Wayne Gretzky had to comment on what he wasn’t seeing out on the ice.

“I wish I could’ve played this kind of playoff hockey in my day,” he said with a laugh. “I mean teams are just 2-on-1’s, 3-on-2’s all over the ice, breakaways and breakdowns. Listen, I was the most offensive player that maybe ever lived. You’ve got play defense, man! [If you want] to win Stanley Cups!”

NHL Playoffs: Avalanche 8 vs Oilers 6

nhl playoffs
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) celebrates his goal ahead of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) and center Connor McDavid (97) in the second period in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday night in Denver was fire-wagon hockey as each team continuously exchanged offensive chances and goals.

The game had a controversial offside call late in the first period that gave the Avs a 3-2 lead. Cale Makar had carried the puck into the offensive zone but did not have his stick on it allowing his teammate to tag-up. After review, the goal was allowed to stand.

J.T. Compher scored twice, Makar had a goal and two assists to lead the Avs in scoring. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and assist each. Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano also scored and Devon Toews had two assists for Colorado.

“I think it’s just a good one for us tonight,” Compher said. “We’re going to have some stuff to clean up. A lot of guys chipped in offensively tonight, but I think we have a lot to clean up defensively.”

Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz stopped 18 of 21 shots in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who left in the second period with an upper-body injury after allowing three goals on 16 shots.

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists, Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist each, and Derek Ryan, Zach Hyman and Ryan McLeod also scored for the Oilers. Leon Draisaitl contributed two assists.

Edmonton’s Mikko Koskinen turned aside 20 of 21 shots in relief of Mike Smith, who yielded six goals in 25 shots.

The Oilers were within one of tying the game before Landeskog hit the empty-netter with 22 seconds left.

“We scored six goals on their goaltending tandem tonight in their building. That should be enough to win the game,” Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. “For me, there are things we have to do in terms of preventing. Sometimes I think it’s not about what you get, it’s about what you’ve given up, and we gave up far too much tonight.”

NHL.com

Game 2 is Thursday night in Denver.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report