The Minnesota Wild pulled off the biggest upset of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday night, toppling the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 7 on the back of an overtime goal by 21-year-old Nino Niederreiter.
After being held to just one point (an assist) through the first six games of the Western Conference quarterfinal series, the Swiss winger came up huge in the clincher.
Niederreiter scored to tie the game at 3-3 early in the third period, assisted on Jared Spurgeon’s game-tying goal with 2:27 to play in regulation and beat Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov with a wicked wrist shot for the game-winner five minutes into the extra session.
The series win was just the third in franchise history for Minnesota and the first since 2003, when the Wild made a stunning run to the Western Conference finals in their third season of existence. They’ll now advance to take on the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks, who eliminated them from the playoffs in five games last season.
Game 1 of that second-round series is set for Friday night in Chicago.