The Colorado Avalanche looked buried. The Minnesota Wild looked in control. Not so fast. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs, after all.
The Avalanche erased a two-goal third-period and then won by a final score of 5-4 in overtime. Paul Stastny, who scored with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to extra time, also recorded the winner.
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, showing no hesitancy for a bold move when he thought necessary, pulled Semyon Varlamov in favor of the extra attacker with over 2:30 remaining in the third period as Colorado searched for the equalizer.
No guts, no glory, as the saying goes.
“We almost did it at four minutes. That went through our minds,” said Roy of his decision to pull Varlamov for the extra skater.
“At one point they had their third pairing on the ice, and it was ‘should we take a shot at it,’ but I thought it was really pushing it, but at the same time you have to go with your gut feeling.
“This is what the playoffs are – sometimes you have to see things, and I thought that’s what we did as a team.”
Stastny provided that, and then played the hero again in the overtime. The Avalanche now lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.
Nathan MacKinnon, making his Stanley Cup playoff debut at just 18 years of age, showed once again why he’s getting such strong consideration for rookie of the year. He had three assists in the win.
The Wild looked to be on their way to a win on the road, taking away home ice advantage, thanks to a two-goal cushion heading into the final period. Minnesota scored three times in the second period to jump ahead of Colorado.
Varlamov made 29 saves for the win.