Minnesota Wild v Colorado Avalanche - Game Five

Get your game notes: Wild at Avalanche


Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Wild and Avalanche are meeting for the second time in a Game 7 at Pepsi Center in Denver. In 2003, Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette scored at 3:25 of overtime in Game 7 of the 2003 Western Conference Quarterfinals to end the playing career of Avs goaltender Patrick Roy. As a player, Roy was 7-2 at home in Game 7s (including 4-2 for Colorado), and 0-5 on the road (0-3 for Colorado).

• The home team has won all seven games in a playoff series nine times in NHL history, most recently in the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals, won by Los Angeles over San Jose. The last time that the home team won the first six games of a series and lost in Game 7 was also last season, in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, when the N.Y. Rangers blanked Washington 5-0 in the series decider.

• The NHL’s two leading scorers this postseason, Minnesota’s Zach Parise (3-7–10) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (2-8–10), have feasted on their opponents on home ice this series. That is something that bodes well for the Avs’ rookie, who will play Game 7 at home, where he’s scored all 10 of his points.

• MacKinnon, who in Game 5 became the highest-scoring teenager playing in his first playoff series (18 years, 237 days), is tied with Maurice “Rocket” Richard for the most points at home in his first-ever playoff series. The Hockey Hall of Famer registered 10 points in three games at the Montreal Forum for the Canadiens in the 1944 NHL Semifinals. Elias Sports Bureau

• Parise set two Wild playoff records in Game 6, becoming the first Minnesota player to register four points (two goals, two assists) in a playoff game, and the fastest to score a goal (49 seconds into the first period). Since arriving in Minnesota before the 2013 season, Parise has registered a point in 13 of 15 games versus Colorado (regular season and playoffs), and multiple points in five of those 15.

• The Minnesota-Colorado series has featured four one-goal games, including three games settled in overtime. In their last 15 postseason meetings, the Wild and Avs have contested 12 one-goal games. (Seven were won by Minnesota.) Two other times, in Games 2 and 6 of this series, the teams were separated by one goal late, until empty-net goals widened the final margin.

• Four times this series, Avs coach Patrick Roy has pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov (3-3 record, 2.45 GAA, .923 save%) with more than two minutes to go in the third period and down by a goal. The Avs tied the game with the extra attacker in their two comeback attempts at home, and won both in overtime.

• Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored a shorthanded goal in Game 6 for his fourth goal of the playoffs, tied for the NHL lead with Jamie Benn (DAL), Wayne Simmonds (PHI), Justin Williams (LAK) and Vladimir Tarasenko (STL). Stastny became only the 15th player in Stanley Cup playoff history to score goals at even strength, on the power play, shorthanded, and in overtime in one series. He joined his father, Peter, who did it for the Quebec Nordiques versus the Hartford Whalers in 1987. Elias Sports Bureau

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: