DENVER (AP) – Devon Toews scored with 7:01 remaining to complete Colorado’s rally from two goals down as the Avalanche beat the Seattle Kraken 3-2 on Thursday night to even their first-round series at a game apiece.
Trailing 2-0 in the second period, Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin scored 48 seconds apart to tie the game. It set the stage for Toews, who knocked in a rebound for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Justin Schultz and Brandon Tanev scored for a Kraken team that once again got off to a flying start after winning 3-1 in Game 1.
Alexandar Georgiev was tested all night and finished with 27 saves. One of his top stops was in the closing seconds of the second period with Seattle on a 3-on-1 break. A pass was sent over to Jordan Eberle, but a sprawled-out Georgiev prevented the score with his extended right leg.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Seattle.
Philipp Grubauer stopped 38 shots against his former team. He spent three seasons in Colorado before signing with Seattle prior to the 2021-22 season.
The Avalanche vowed to play with more intensity and more resolve. But it was the Kraken who controlled the early tempo. The Seattle defense found a way to contain Nathan MacKinnon and his speedy cast – until the second period.
That’s when Colorado hit its stride. Lehkonen and Nichushkin re-energized the capacity crowd by scoring 48 seconds apart. Last season, Lehkonen played a role in a two-goal spurt over a 15-second span when he and Josh Manson scored in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.
MacKinnon nearly scored a go-ahead goal midway through the third on a mini-breakaway. Grubauer stopped his shot and tumbled into the goal as the puck trickled to the side of the net.
For the second straight game, the Kraken scored early. This time, it was the result of a 2-on-1 break where Schultz sent the puck through the pads of Georgiev. The Kraken were 32-7-3 in the regular season when scoring first.
Tanev added a short-handed goal to make it 2-0 and then blew a kiss to the crowd.
The injuries continue to pile up for the Avalanche with defenseman Jack Johnson and forward Andrew Cogliano sidelined for a second straight game. Midway through the third period, Lars Eller slammed into the boards and struggled to get to the bench.
Colorado used 43 different players in the regular season, the most in a season since the Avalanche moved to town before the 1995-96 season. One of the biggest absences has been captain Gabriel Landeskog, who hasn’t played all year due to a knee injury.
AROUND THE RINK
Both teams were 0 for 2 on the power play. … Kraken forward Yanni Gourde had two assists. … The teams combined for 90 hits.