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Duchene's return not enough, as Wild hold off comeback to force a game 7

The Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal by Zach Parise #11 as Paul Stastny #26 and Nate Guenin #5 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during the first period in Game Six of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28, 2014 at Xcel Energy C
The Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal by Zach Parise #11 as Paul Stastny #26 and Nate Guenin #5 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on during the first period in Game Six of the First Round of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28, 2014 at Xcel Energy C
Photo by Hannah Foslien

St. Paul, Minn. was not kind to the Colorado Avalanche in games three and four of their first round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild. Monday’s game six looked like it was going to be more of the same.

Minnesota opened the scoring less than a minute into the contest, when Zach Parise deflected a Ryan Suter point shot past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov for a powerplay tally. Mikael Granlund would add a goal later in the period to stake the Wild to a 2-0 lead.

Things looked to be taking a turn for the worst late in the frame, as the Avalanche found themselves on the wrong end of a five on three powerplay. Then, the tide would turn, as Ryan O’Reilly would steal the puck and find Paul Stastny as he was exiting the penalty box; sending the Avalanche center in on a breakaway. Just like that, the deficit was cut in half to end the first.

With the momentum turned in the Avs’ favor to begin the second frame, the Avalanche would get the equalizer with a powerplay tally of their own, when O’Reilly found a pinching Nick Holden for a backdoor score. Returning from a knee injury that caused him to miss the first five games of the series, Matt Duchene picked up the secondary assist on the goal.

Entering the third period the Wild looked shellshocked; that was until Parise made a supreme individual effort, tipping the puck past Varlamov for his second goal of the night. Just like in games one and three, the Avalanche would be forced to pull their goaltender. Unlike the two aforementioned contests, the Avalanche would not be able to send the game into overtime. Instead Minnesota would add two empty net goals, holding on for a 5-2 victory.

The series will now head back to Colorado for a decisive game seven on Wednesday. The home team has one every game thus far in the series, a trend the Avalanche hope will continue.