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Missed calls push the Minnesota Wild to brink of elimination

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Nathan MacKinnon beat Darcy Kuemper three minutes and 27 seconds into overtime to give the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory Saturday in the Pepsi Center. However, the game should never have gotten there.

The Minnesota Wild held a one-goal lead in the final two minutes of the game with the Avalanche net was empty. Charlie Coyle was a race for a loose puck behind the Avalanche defense, but was grabbed onto by Andre Benoit negating what would likely have been a game-clinching goal. However, the puck was turned the other way and P.A. Parenteau knocked a pass from Paul Statsny past Kuemper. The goal counted, but the linesman put himself out of position and missed MacKinnon clearly offside.

Longtime NHL referee Kerry Fraser took to Twitter at the end of regulation to share his opinion of sequence that led to the tying goal with one minute and 17 seconds remaining, “Trouble in Denver. Charlie Coyle held by Andre Benoit with net empty causing turnover. Up ice Paul Statsny is offside as Avs tie game. Ouch!”

The referees were responsible for two of the Avalanche’s three regulation goals and cost the Wild one. The Avalanche also got help from the referee on their second goal. Gabriel Landeskog grabbed Mikko Koivu’s stick after his was broken (missed penalty No. 2 on the Avalanche during the sequence). Then Landeskog bear-hugged Koivu (missed penalty No. 3). Finally, Landeskog punched Koivu in the back of the head and tackled (finally a penalty called). Somehow Meier assessed Koivu a penalty for roughing, apparently he didn’t like the way his head was hitting Landeskog’s glove.

The Avalanche (3-2) got on the board when Cody McLeod re-directed Ryan O’Reilly’s pass past Kuemper while shorthanded. Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville mishandled the puck at center and weren’t able to keep O’Reilly and McLeod from gaining an odd-man rush.

The Wild (2-3) overcame a one-goal deficit to score two goals in a one minute 51 second span early in the third period. Zach Parise tied the game off a cross-ice pass from Pominville and Brodziak put the Wild ahead, for what should have been the game-winning goal, on a one-timer off a pass from Dany Heatley.

Both teams return to the ice Monday at the Xcel Energy Center for Game 6 of the their first round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Kyle Brodziak. The Wild forward scored a goal.

No. 2 - Dany Heatley. The Wild forward recorded two assists.

No. 1 - Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche forward recorded a goal and two assists.

Boxscore

Minnesota……0 1 2 0 - 3

Colorado…..…0 2 1 1 - 4

First Period - None. Penalties - Holden, COL (boarding), 4:03; Granlund, MIN (goaltender interference), 12:50.

Second Period - 1, Colorado, McLeod 1 (O’Reilly), 8:41 (sh). 2, Minnesota, Moulson 2 (Spurgeon, Heatley), 9:17. 3, Colorado, Holden 1 (Benoit, MacKinnon), 12:16. Penalties - Stoner, MIN (cross checking), 4:37; Bench, COL (too many men; served by McGinn), 6:47; Koivu, MIN (roughing), 11:44; Landeskog, COL (roughing), 11:14; Coyle, MIN (roughing), 17:31.

Third Period - 4, Minnesota, Parise 1 (Pominville, Granlund), 4:34. 5, Minnesota, Brodziak 2 (Heatley, Coyle), 6:25. 6, Colorado, Parenteau (Statsny, MacKinnon), 18:46. Penalties - Landeskog, COL (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:27.

Overtime - 7, Colorado, MacKinnon 2 (Landeskog, Wilson), 3:27. Penalties - None.

Shots on goal - Minnesota 11-9-10-2 32. Colorado 8-12-12-3 35.

Goalies - Minnesota, Kuemper (31-35). Colorado, Varlamov (29-32). Referees - Brad Meier, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen - Steve Barton, Pierre Racicot.

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