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Bjorkstrand’s 2nd goal with 32 seconds remaining to lift Kraken past Avalanche, 4-3

Seattle had 3-1 lead before Colorado rallied to tie with 7:45 to play

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Seattle Kraken right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche as fans react during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Denver.
Seattle Kraken right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand celebrates after scoring the go-ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche as fans react during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Photo Gallery

DENVER — Oliver Bjorkstrand accomplished a little Seattle Kraken history with his late-game goal.

Not that he remembers all that much about the sequence.

Bjorkstrand, a Portland Winterhawks alum, scored his second goal of the game with 32 seconds remaining and the Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night after squandering a two-goal lead.

It’s the latest go-ahead goal in regulation for a franchise in its third season, according to NHL research.

“Barely remember it,” Bjorkstrand said.

A quick recap: Bjorkstrand was down low and sent a backhanded pass to Eeli Tolvanen, who was standing in front. Tolvanen’s shot deflected off goaltender Ivan Prosvetov and to Bjorkstrand after he skated to the other side of the net. He lined it in for his sixth goal of the season.

There’s just something about this building, against this team, that brings out the best in Bjorkstrand. He had two goals to lift Seattle by the Avalanche in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series last season.

“Nice to get the win,” Bjorkstrand said. “That’s the most important.”

Jaden Schwartz and Matty Beniers also scored to help the Kraken hand the Avalanche their first home loss in five games this season.

Philipp Grubauer had 23 saves against his former team.

Bowen Byram, Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin scored for Colorado in the second of three meetings with the Kraken (the Avalanche won 4-1 last month in Seattle). Prosvetov had 19 saves in his third appearance for Colorado since being acquired on waivers.

Seattle threatened to run away, leading 2-0 and 3-1 in the second. The Avalanche tied it on Nichushkin’s tip-in goal with 7:45 remaining.

“As a whole, that’s the way I want our team to compete. We played hard,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We weren’t perfect, but you’re never going to be. We did a nice job.”

There was a scary moment midway through the second period when Colorado forward Artturi Lehkonen took a bump from 6-foot-7, 257-pound defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and slid head-first into the boards. Lehkonen was helped to the locker room and taken to the hospital for further evaluation. The team said he was “alert, responsive and has full movement.”

Bednar didn’t have an update after the game. He said he only had a quick look at the play but thought Lehkonen “got caught in a bad spot and ran into a big guy,” Bednar explained.

Beniers gave Seattle a 3-1 lead midway through the second period with a power-play goal. It was his first score of the season. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie last season with 24 goals and 57 points.

“Felt good,” Beniers said. “Felt great.”

Seattle was without Jordan Eberle after the the forward suffered a cut to his leg from a skate blade during practice Wednesday. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Kraken forward Ryan Winterton was called up from Coachella Valley of the American Hockey League and made his NHL debut. He had one shot in just over seven minutes. He had one shot in just over seven minutes. It’s his first season playing above juniors.

Shane Wright, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2022, was also brought up Thursday.

Colorado defenseman Cale Makar marked his 250th career NHL game with an assist. Makar’s 261 points are the most ever by a defenseman through 250 games, with Bobby Orr second (256 points).

“I felt like we deserved a better outcome,” Makar said. “Compete-wise, I think we played to the best of our ability.”

As part of the annual “Hockey Fights Cancer” night, the Avalanche held a dedication ceremony in the first period for the late Peter McNab, who died last November after losing his fight with cancer. The broadcast booth was named in honor of the longtime NHL player/analyst.

UP NEXT: The Kraken host Edmonton on Saturday.

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KRAKEN 4, AVALANCHE 3

Seattle 1 2 1—4

Colorado 0 2 1—3

First Period—1, Seattle, Schwartz 7 (Dunn, Kartye), 18:39.

Second Period—2, Seattle, Bjorkstrand 5 (Oleksiak, Larsson), 4:29. 3, Colorado, Byram 3 (MacKinnon, Lehkonen), 4:57. 4, Seattle, Beniers 1 (Schwartz, Dunn), 11:35 (pp). 5, Colorado, MacKinnon 6 (Makar, Rantanen), 15:40.

Third Period—6, Colorado, Nichushkin 2 (Toews, MacKinnon), 12:15. 7, Seattle, Bjorkstrand 6 (Larsson, Tolvanen), 19:28.

Shots on Goal—Seattle 8-9-6—23. Colorado 10-9-7—26.

Power-play opportunities—Seattle 1 of 4; Colorado 0 of 3.

Goalies—Seattle, Grubauer 2-5-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Colorado, Prosvetov 1-0-0 (23-19).

A—18,124 (18,007). T—2:29.

Referees—Peter MacDougall, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen—Steve Barton, Jonny Murray.

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