Finland regions

Avalanche edge Blue Jackets 5-1 to sweep Finnish series


TAMPERE, Finland (AP) — Artturi Lehkonen scored in his homeland and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 on Saturday for a two-game NHL series sweep in Finland.

Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon each had three assists for the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, which won for the fourth time in six total games. Devon Toews and Martin Kaut each had a goal and an assist, and Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook also scored.

Lehkonen opened the scoring after just 33 seconds and Colorado took control with three unanswered second-period goals at Nokia Arena.

Boone Jenner scored in the first for Columbus and Joonas Korpisalo made 40 saves in his home country.

The Avalanche also beat the Blue Jackets 6-3 Friday in Tampere. Finland-born Mikko Rantanen had three goals and an assist in the win, and MacKinnon had four assists.

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MacKinnon helped the Avs get off to another solid start in Game 2, setting up Lehkonen with a cross pass on a 2-on-1 in Game 1. It was Lehkonen’s third goal this season.

Columbus tied it at 1 when Jenner beat Alexandar Georgiev with a power-play deflection at 12:27. It was the second goal of the season for the captain of the Blue Jackets.

Colorado went ahead to stay when Kaut scored with a backhand from a tight angle 1:22 into the second. It was Kaut’s first goal since Feb. 29, 2020, in Nashville.

The Avalanche opened a 4-1 lead on goals from O’Connor and Toews.

O’Connor deflected a Makar shot from the top of the left circle at 4:13. Then Toews scored his first of the season at 4:50.

Newhook completed the rout in third.

Colorado outshot the Blue Jackets 45-32 and Georgiev made 31 saves.

It was the fifth straight loss for the Blue Jackets.

Tampere’s games rounded out the 2022 NHL World Series with its second visit to Europe this year. Nashville swept two games from San Jose last month in Prague to kick off the regular season.

The four games marked the NHL’s return to Europe for the first time since the pandemic began.

Friday’s game was the 32nd regular season game played in Europe, the ninth in Finland and the second in Tampere… It was the 38th NHL regular season game played outside America North. … Korpisalo made his debut in the season. Korpisalo, 28, had not played a game since March 22 due to a hip injury.

Avalanche: Host the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Blue Jackets: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

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