Kraken win 1st playoff series, oust champion Avs

DENVER — Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice, Philipp Grubauer was stellar in stopping 33 shots and the Seattle Kraken eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche with a 2-1 win in Game 7 on Sunday night.

The Kraken became the first expansion team to beat the reigning Stanley Cup champs in their inaugural playoff series, according to NHL Stats.

Bjorkstrand scored one goal on a fortuitous deflection — the puck hit off a stick and glove — and another with a liner past goaltender Alexandar Georgiev that clanged off the post. Seattle grabbed the lead in every game in the series.

“Within the group, we believe in ourselves,” Bjorkstrand said in his bench interview on TNT after the win. “It’s been like that all series. … We knew what we had to do to come in here and win the game.”

Next up for the second-year Kraken is a second-round series against the Dallas Stars that opens on Tuesday night in Texas.

Mikko Rantanen was credited with a power-play goal for Colorado after a shot by Nathan MacKinnon clipped him and went in. MacKinnon appeared to score early in the third period to tie it at 2, but Seattle challenged the play and the goal was disallowed due to Colorado being offside.

The Avalanche pulled Georgiev with under 2 minutes remaining but couldn’t get the equalizer. It allowed the Kraken to accomplish another franchise first — a series-clinching celebration.

Colorado has now lost its last six Game 7s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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