Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Nathan MacKinnon scored 3:27 into overtime to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round series.
The Avalanche used the same script from Game 1 to grab a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven set, tying the game late in regulation with the goaltender pulled and netting the overtime winner.
Colorado's game-tying goal shouldn't have counted based on video review as Paul Stastny narrowly beat a puck-carrying MacKinnon into the Minnesota zone. However, the play wasn't blown dead for an offside.
With play allowed to continue, MacKinnon chipped the puck ahead to Stastny, who snapped a shot from below the left circle that Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper turned away. Stastny then gathered the rebound and slipped the puck into the slot, where P.A. Parenteau fired the puck home with 1:14 remaining in regulation for his first career playoff goal.
"It is what it is, but to sit here and dwell on it, I don't think is going to do us any good," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "Obviously frustrating, obviously disappointing, but bottom line is, it's not going to do us any good."
In overtime, MacKinnon handled a pass from Gabriel Landeskog in the left circle, made a move around Wild defenseman Marco Scandella and scored on a shot to the top right corner.
"I was kind of screaming for the puck from Landy. He obviously made a good heads-up play to me," MacKinnon said. "(Stastny) looked great on the forecheck. I kind of just fired it to the net and I don't know if it tipped off one of their defenders or not, but I'm definitely very fortunate for the win."
A not-so-surprising finalist for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie this season, MacKinnon added two assists after being held without a point in consecutive losses at Minnesota. He had a goal and six assists as the Central Division champs won the first two games at Pepsi Center.
"We knew when we drafted him what kind of player we were drafting, and he had a solid game again tonight," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said about MacKinnon.
The Wild will try to stave off elimination on Monday by extending the home team's dominance in this series.
Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for Colorado, but the best save belonged to Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden, who prevented a goal in the extra session by blocking a Matt Moulson shot.
Kuemper surrendered four goals on 35 shots after facing a combined 34 shots in the previous two games.
Colorado carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak scored less than two minutes apart to put Minnesota in front.
Parise collected a pass from Jason Pominville on a rush and beat Varlamov, one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, to tie the game at 4:34.
A soft clearing attempt by Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda led to Brodziak, a scratch in Game 3, scoring on a one-timer from the high slot at 6:25.
The Wild had a chance to extend their lead but failed to convert on a power play after Landeskog was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for giving Kuemper a snow shower with 4:33 remaining.
Colorado opened the scoring in the second period with a shorthanded goal. Cody McLeod forced a turnover in the neutral zone, breaking up Wild defenseman Ryan Suter's return pass to Pominville, and drove hard to the net to redirect Ryan O'Reilly's feed at 8:04.
Not long after the Minnesota power play expired, Moulson deflected Jared Spurgeon's point shot to tie the game at 9:17.
The Avalanche regained the lead while the teams skated 4-on-4. MacKinnon backed up the Wild defense with his sublime speed, entered the zone and dropped a pass to Andre Benoit, whose point shot was tipped by Holden through the pads of Kuemper for his first career playoff goal.
MacKinnon (18 years, 237 days) is the second-youngest player in NHL history to score an overtime goal in the playoffs. Don Gallinger was 17 years, 339 days when he scored an OT winner for Boston on March 21, 1943 against Montreal ... Colorado led the league with 28 one-goal wins during the regular season ... Thirteen of the 18 all-time playoff games between Colorado and Minnesota have been decided by one goal ... Parise has a point in every game of this series.