Wild ice Avalanche in overtime to win Game 7
DENVER — Minnesota right winger Nino Niederreiter scored 5:02 of overtime and the Wild rallied late and beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night.
It was Niederreiter’s second goal of the game, and it came on a 2-on-1 break right after the Avalanche had a chance at the other end.
It was the fourth overtime game of the series and the first win for the road team.
The Wild move on to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the conference semifinals.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon scored with 2:27 left in regulation to send the game into overtime.
Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson scored with 8:44 left to break a 3-all tie, but the Avalanche couldn’t hold the one-goal lead for the fourth time on the night.
Center Paul Stastny, defenseman Nick Holden and left winger Jamie McGinn also scored in regulation for the Avalanche.
Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves through regulation and overtime.
Center Mikko Koivu and left winger Dany Heatley also scored regulation goals for the Wild.
Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 17 saves before leaving the game with 8:13 in the third with an apparent injury. Ilya Bryzgalov, who was pulled midway through Game 2, came on and made one save in overtime after not facing a shot in regulation.
Stastny gave Colorado a 3-2 lead 2:55 into the third with his NHL-leading fifth playoff goal. The Wild came back again and tied it on Niederreiter’s first goal of the postseason at 6:33 of the third.
The Avalanche scored a power-play goal for the second straight game after having just one in the first five games, but it wasn’t a clean goal.
McGinn was standing in the net when Holden put a backhander past Kuemper just 2:52 in to make it 1-0.
The Wild quickly recovered and started taking the play to Colorado. It paid off when Koivu’s shot from the boards beat Varlamov to tie it at 8:04 of the first.
Minnesota had several chances to take the lead but it was Colorado that got the next one when McGinn tipped in center Joey Hishon’s centering pass to make it 2-1 after the first.
Heatley tied it in the second as a Minnesota power play expired.
Notes: Avalanche C Joey Hishon, who made his NHL debut in Game 4, was back in the lineup after being scratched in Game 5 and replaced by C Matt Duchene in Game 6. Center Brad Malone was scratched for the first time in the series. ... Minnesota C Mikko Koivu played in his 23rd playoff game, tying him with Wes Walz for third-most in franchise history. ... Colorado C Nathan MacKinnon and Wild LW Zach Parise are tied for the scoring lead in the playoffs with 10 points apiece. ... Avalanche coach Patrick Roy appeared in 13 Game 7s in his career as a goaltender. He was 6-7, including losses in his last two with Colorado.