The Minnesota Wild came this close Thursday night to upsetting the Colorado Avalanche in the opening game of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
With the Wild up a goal and Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov on the bench with less than two minutes to play in the third, Minnesota’s Erik Houda lofted the puck out of his own zone toward the open Avs net. A goal would have iced the game, but Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson hustled the length of the ice and swatted the puck away inches from the goal line.
Johnson’s mad dash proved crucial, as Avalanche teammate Paul Stastny went on to do this just over a minute later.
The last-minute score tied the game at four goals apiece, setting the stage for Stastny — the team’s third-leading goal scorer during the regular season — to be the hero again in overtime.
Stastny also added an assist in the 5-4 Avalanche win, and Calder Trophy favorite Nathan MacKinnon chipped in with three helpers of his own. Colorado will look to extend its series lead Saturday night when it hosts Minnesota for Game 2.