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NHL - US Sports: Avalanche sweep through to Stanley Cup final

The Colorado Avalanche won Game 4 of the Western Conference Final 6-5 in overtime on Monday to complete a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers and reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since they were crowned champions in 2001.

The Avalanche, 10/21 to win the Stanley Cup, await their opponent, with the New York Rangers currently leading the two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Avalanche making up for lost time

Colorado's journey to the final has been a welcome one after being disappointingly knocked out at the second-round stage in each of the past three seasons.

The Avalanche got over the hump this season by sweeping the Nashville Predators in round one and then beating the St. Louis Blues in six games to advance to the Conference final against the Oilers.

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Through the campaign, they have overcome much adversity, earning the praise of head coach Jared Bednar.

Injuries fail to halt Avalanche charge

Defenseman Samuel Girard is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of a broken sternum, while forward Nazem Kadri was ruled out for the remainder of the series against the Oilers after suffering injury in Game 3.

And finally, starting goalie Darcy Kuemper was forced to leave Game 1 with an upper-body injury. He was replaced by Pavel Francouz, who made 30 saves on Monday and is now 6-0 this post-season.

Bednar said to the media: "It's such a hard trophy to win. It's a battle of attrition. No one gets through it without suffering a bunch of ups and downs and ebbs and flows to series, to injuries, facing adversity.

"It seems that the teams that get through that the best are usually the ones that are standing at the end, or at least getting in the finals. We've faced our share."

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