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NHL Playoffs: Wild blow late lead, lose to Avs

Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny celebrates after scoring the game-winning overtime goal against the Minnesota Wild Thursday in a first-round game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Pepsi Center in Denver. USA TODAY Sports.

DENVER — Paul Stastny tied the game with 14 seconds remaining in the third period before scoring 7:27 into overtime as host Colorado rallied to win 5-4 over the Minnesota Wild in the opener of a Western Conference first-round series.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon made a backhand pass from behind the net to Stastny, who beat Ilya Bryzgalov from the right side of the crease to cap the comeback. Jamie McGinn and Ryan O’Reilly each recorded a goal and an assist, captain Gabriel Landeskog also tallied and MacKinnon collected three assists for the Central Division-champion Avalanche, who host Game 2 on Saturday.

Charlie Coyle, defenseman Ryan Suter, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula scored for the Wild, who squandered a two-goal lead in the third period. Zach Parise notched a pair of assists and Bryzgalov turned aside 26 shots.

Colorado opened the scoring when Landeskog converted a feed from Stastny while on the doorstep with 6:46 left in the first period. The lead lasted just 2:06, however, as the rebound of defenseman Marco Scandella’s shot squirted to Coyle, who buried a shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.

Suter scored on the power play 11 minutes into the second before O’Reilly beat Bryzgalov to the stick side with a blast from the top of the slot at 14:12. Haula gave the Wild a 3-2 edge less than two minutes later and Brodziak ripped a shot from the inner edge of the left circle past Semyon Varlamov (29 saves) 2:04 afterward, but McGinn tallied from the top of the crease at 7:13 into the third and Stastny buried a rebound from the right side to force overtime.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Stastny also notched an assist to finish with three points while Colorado D Tyson Barrie set up a pair of goals. ... Minnesota LW Matt Cooke drew the ire of Colorado’s Erik Johnson late in the third period, shooting the puck in the direction of the defenseman as he was sprawled on the ice after knocking the net off its moorings while preventing a goal. ... Cooke, RW Nino Niederreiter and D Clayton Stoner were the only members of the Wild without a shot on goal.