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?