April 26 2014 ISN -DENVER – Nathan MacKinnon scored 3:27 into overtime after P.A. Parenteau tied the game late in regulation, helping the Colorado Avalanche rally for a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night and a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.
MacKinnon poked the puck past Darcy Kuemper’s glove with two defenders near him. The rookie also had two assists.
Parenteau scored with 1:14 left after Avalanche coach Patrick Roy pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov with 2:22 remaining. The strategy worked out yet again.
The series switches back to Minnesota for Game 6 on Monday.
Nick Holden and Cody McLeod also added goals for the Avalanche.
Kyle Brodziak, Zach Parise and Matt Moulson scored for the Wild. Two of Minnesota’s goals came after a Colorado defenceman shattered their stick and had to play without one.
When his team trails, Roy has been rather liberal in pulling Varlamov all season long, preferring to send out an extra skater with plenty of time left on the clock. It worked in Game 1, as Paul Stastny scored with 13.4 seconds remaining in regulation and then added the OT winner.
This time, it was MacKinnon’s turn to step up. He was mobbed by teammates shortly after scoring.
“The kid’s special,” Parenteau said. “The sky’s the limit for this kid. I know it’s cliche to say, but it’s pretty impressive to see. … This is the kid we want on our side.”
There may have been a little controversy on Parenteau’s tying goal, with Paul Stastny possibly being offsides on the play. At least, that was the Wild’s take.
“They missed the call and we paid for it,” Minnesota defenceman Ryan Suter said. “No excuses. We have to play better in overtime. We’ve got to get more pressure on the kid (MacKinnon) when he comes to the net.”
MacKinnon is having quite the series, with two goals and eight assists. But he was more focused on the Avs allowing a tying goal in the third than his offensive production.
“We don’t want to be on this emotional roller-coaster,” MacKinnon said. “It’s cool to come back, but we want to hold that lead.”
Parise tied the game at 2 early in the third when he glided down the left side and beat Varlamov with a shot over his glove.
Nearly two minutes later, Brodziak gave the Wild the lead after defenceman Jan Hejda broke his stick and struggled to cover anyone.
The Avalanche finally figured out a way to get the puck past Kuemper — by tipping in shots. Kuemper had allowed just one goal heading into Saturday since taking over for Ilya Bryzgalov in Game 2.
The Avalanche’s trouble on the power play kept on going as they went 0 for 3. They’ve now scored just one goal in 18 power-play chances, the lowest percentage of any playoff team.
Colorado generated some quality scoring chances and found more open ice in front of a capacity Pepsi Center crowd. The Avs were outshot 78-34 in the last two games.
McLeod had a short-handed goal at 8:04 of the second period, when he redirected a pass from Ryan O’Reilly past Kuemper.
The lead was short-lived as the Wild answered 1:13 later when Moulson tipped in a shot by Jared Spurgeon from the blue line. On the play, Maxime Talbot gave his stick to defenceman Andre Benoit after his broke and then Jamie McGinn passed his to Talbot, leaving McGinn without a stick.
There was a little scuffle between captains Mikko Koivu and Gabriel Landeskog, with both receiving roughing penalties.
Advantage Colorado, though, since the 4-on-4 situation opened up more room for the speedy Avs to manoeuvr. Benoit lined a shot wide of the net, but Holden stuck out his stick and deflected the puck by Kuemper to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.
This could help the Avs offence: They may soon have leading scorer Matt Duchene back in the lineup as he skated with the team Saturday morning. Duchene has been sidelined since hurting his left knee when he ran into a teammate against San Jose on March 29.
Expect Duchene back for Game 6?
“We’re going to take a serious look at it,” Roy said.
NOTES: The Wild were without suspended LW Matt Cooke for a second game after his knee-on-knee hit knocked Avs D Tyson Barrie out for at least a month. … Colorado has three players among the finalists for post-season awards: MacKinnon (Calder), O’Reilly (Lady Byng) and Varlamov (Vezina). The winners will be announced June 24. … Colorado and Minnesota had a combined 28 scratches, including Avs F John Mitchell (head).