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Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid and Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar tangle during the first period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference finals on June 2, 2022, in Denver.Jack Dempsey/The Associated Press

The Avalanche erupted for three goals in the second period in a span of 2 minutes 4 seconds on Thursday to blow open a 0-0 tie and went on the beat the Oilers 4-0 in the second game of the Western Conference finals playoff series.

Goalie Pavel Francouz, playing in place of injured starter Darcy Kuemper, pitched the shutout while he recorded 24 saves.

Colorado now holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven. Games 3 and 4 are at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday and Monday.

“We have been a real solid home team,” Tyson Barrie, the Oilers’ defenceman, said. “We love playing in front of our fans. We are certainly not counting ourselves out of it.”

The Avalanche set franchise records for wins and points during the regular season and is now 10-2 in the postseason. It outshot Edmonton 40-24 and accomplished the rare feat of shutting down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the same night. The superstars were limited to five shots combined.

Colorado went 0 for 3 on the power play and missed a golden opportunity to forge ahead during a 5 on 3 advantage that lasted nearly two full minutes.

“When we killed off the 5 on 3, it should have been a momentum builder,” Zach Hyman, the Oilers forward, said.

After a fast but tightly played first period, Colorado scored on consecutive shots 15 seconds apart early in the second to take the lead.

Artturi Lehkonen converted an Edmonton turnover into a 1-0 advantage on a 22-foot wrist shot with 16:02 remaining. Colorado defenceman Josh Manson, whose father is an assistant coach for Edmonton, then ripped a slap shot past Mike Smith to make it 2-0. Mikko Rantanen added to the visiting team’s misery when he scored on a 2 on 1.

Lehkonen had a goal and an assist, as did Rantanen. Nazem Kadri, the former Maple Leaf, assisted on all three second-period goals.

“I thought we played a good first,” Barrie said. “In that stretch in the second, they got one and then compounded it. When they get one, we have to find a way to stop the bleeding.”

Edmonton trailed 7-3 in Game 1 on Tuesday, but cut the lead to 7-6 with a minute left before it allowed an empty-netter.

This time, there was no real pushback.

“We didn’t do enough to make it hard on the opposing goaltender,” Jay Woodcroft, the Oilers coach, said. “We had some chances but not nearly enough.”

Edmonton was trying to bounce back from a Game 1 loss for the third time this postseason.

Smith, its 40-year-old goaltender, had 36 saves in the defeat. He was pulled for the second time this postseason in the series opener after he allowed six goals on 25 shots.

Woodcroft would not name Smith the starter for Game 2 on Wednesday, but he was back in the net again a day later. He entered the game 8-3 in the playoffs with a .917 save percentage.

He actually started out well with 15 saves in the first period. At the same time, Francouz had 13 in the opposing crease.

Everything fell apart quickly in the second.

“That little span really hurt us,” Woodcroft said. “It took the wind out of our sails.”

After the three quick goals, the raucous crowd at Ball Arena had begun to chant “We want the Cup” and serenaded Francouz with repeated “Frankies.”

Francouz was 15-5-1 as a backup during the regular season and is now 4-0 during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Edmonton is 6-1 during the playoffs when it scores first, but 2-6 when its opponent does the same. It is now 0-5 when it trails after 40 minutes.

The Avalanche won the Central Division with a franchise-best 56-17-9 record in the regular season. In a campaign where they were both the best and worst team in the league at different points, the Oilers ended up second in the Pacific at 49-27-6.

Colorado swept Nashville in the first round and eliminated St. Louis in six in the second. It took the Oilers seven games to fend off the Kings before they overwhelmed the Flames in five.

At times in both games, Colorado has run Edmonton ragged. This time, the Oilers played better overall, but the Avalanche eventually wore them down.

Now, Edmonton is in an 0-2 hole and Colorado is in charge.

“We are still confident,” Hyman, the former Maple Leaf, said. “It’s a series. This is how it goes. The playoffs are a rollercoaster.

“Now we have a chance to go home and feed off our crowd. We have home ice and that’s huge. If we elevate our game, we’ll be fine.”

Nathan MacKinnon had Colorado’s fourth goal late in the third period. He now has 10 goals in 12 games.

“They found a way to break through,” McDavid said. “We didn’t.”