Another game in the books, another comeback win for the Colorado Avalanche. Down late after surrendering two third period goals to the Minnesota Wild during Saturday’s contest, the Avs pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov for an extra attacker. The move paid off, with forward P.A. Parenteau tying the game with 1:14 remaining in regulation.
In the extra frame, the Avalanche took it to a visibly stunned Minnesota team. Then, three and a half minutes in, a fitting hero in MacKinnon capped off the comeback; taking a beautiful pass from captain Gabriel Landeskog and sniping the puck past Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
"I was kind of screaming for it," said MacKinnon. "It definitely was a good heads-up play by him, a little saucer pass to my blade and thankfully it went top corner."
The goal gave MacKinnon three points in the game. The 18-year-old rookie now has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in this year’s playoffs to lead all NHL scorers. The goal also gave Colorado a 3-2 lead in the series, which will head back to Minnesota for game five on Monday.
The Avalanche, who only managed 34 combined shots during the two games contested in St. Paul (games three and four), fared much better in their return to Denver with 35 shots in game five alone. The team also got a shorthanded goal from Cody McLeod and a tip in tally from defenseman Nick Holden (the first goal by an Avalanche blueliner in the series).
Minnesota did not make it easy on the Avalanche however, as they mustered 32 shots of their own. They responded after McLoed opened up the scoring, with Matt Moulson netting the equalizer just over a minute later. Down by one again entering the third period, they scored twice in a two minute span (Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak) to take the lead. But alas, they were unable to hang on for the victory.
"It's too bad," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. "I mean, we played hard, we came out in the third and played the way we wanted to. They missed a call and we pay for it. I mean, no excuses, we have to play better in the overtime. We got to get more pressure on them, get pucks at their net. They came hard but yeah, they definitely got away with a missed call to tie the game."
If the momentum of a comeback overtime victory isn’t enough, the Avalanche may get an additional boost on Monday; as head coach Patrick Roy says the team will take a “serious look” at inserting injured forward (and their leading scorer in the regular season) Matt Duchene into the lineup.