Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Five

Nathan MacKinnon scores OT winner, Avalanche take 3-2 series lead


How quickly things can change in hockey, especially in these Stanley Cup playoffs. It seems no lead has really been safe, and there was evidence of that Saturday.

The Colorado Avalanche entered the third period of Game 5 against the Minnesota Wild with a one-goal lead and a chance to retake the series lead. In less than two minutes, the Avalanche went from in the lead to chasing the Wild.

Then came P.A. Parenteau and his controversial tying goal in the final minute to send the game to overtime, followed by 18-year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon’s winner early in the extra frame.

So after an up-and-down roller coaster ride in Denver, the Avalanche came away with a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory. Colorado does, at the end of the night, come away with a 3-2 series lead, as well.

Zach Parise scored on a perfect wrist shot to tie the game at 2-2 early in the third period, and Kyle Brodziak wired a slap shot past Semyon Varlamov shortly after to give Minnesota the lead. Two Wild goals in 1:51.

Twice in this game, the Avalanche were able to gain the lead. Cody McLeod scored short-handed to open the scoring for Colorado in the second period, his goal the result of a rare Ryan Suter mistake and turnover in the neutral zone. But the Wild came right back 1:13 later on Matt Moulson’s first goal of these playoffs.

The chances of a Colorado comeback were hindered late in the third period by a Gabriel Landeskog unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty for giving Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper a snow-shower after the whistle.

Head coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov for the extra skater with about 2:25 remaining in regulation. His bold move, and we’ve become used to these, paid off with the Parenteau equalizer.

Home ice has been a major advantage in this series. Neither team has been able to win on the road.

The Wild won both games in Minnesota, and if that trend continues, it will mean this series gets extended to a seventh and deciding game. But, after tonight’s game, who knows what will happen?

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: