DENVER - Paul Stastny scored 7:27 into overtime after tying the game with 13.4 seconds remaining in regulation, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild in the opener of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Thursday night.
The Wild trailed 1-0 in the first period, but the first line got the Wild on the board on a goal by Charlie Coyle.
"I like the way we responded when we were down early," said Wild coach Mike Yeo, who admitted in his post-game news conference that the loss was disappointing.
That's because the Wild played so well, especially in the second period.
The Wild took a 2-1 lead on a power play goal by Ryan Suter. It was one of three goals in the period.
After Ryan O'Reilly tied it at 2, the Wild scored two goals 2:04 apart. The first was by former Gopher Erik Haula, who scored his first NHL playoff goal. Kyle Brodziak also scored on assists from Matt Cooke and Nino Niederreiter.
But the 4-2 lead would not hold up.
Jamie McGinn scored at 7:13 in the third to cut the lead to 4-3. With about three minutes left, an aggressive move was made by Colorado coach and former goalie Patrick Roy, who is coaching in his first postseason behind the bench.
Roy pulled the goaltender, and the empty net almost cost the Avalanche. With 1:34 left, Bloomington native Erik Johnson raced back and deflected the puck, dislodging the net in the process. That prevented the Wild from another scoring chance.
With less than 14 seconds left in the game, Stastny beat Ilya Bryzgalov for the game-tying goal. The close-in wrist shot was the dagger in both regulation and overtime.
Yeo said after the game, that he didn't feel as though his team played its best hockey despite holding a two goal lead in the third period. The team now has to overcome a discouraging loss when they get back on the ice on Saturday.
"That's the challenge. How do you respond when something like this happens in this game and be ready to bounce back?" Yeo said.