Nathan MacKinnon had an outstanding NHL playoff debut, recording 3 assists while Paul Stastny had the tying goal with 13.4 seconds left and added the winner 7:27 into overtime to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-4 opening game comeback win over the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota looked to be in control after 40 minutes, ahead 4-2, but the Avalanche didn’t give up and chipped away at the lead. It was a character win for the Avalanche, with many players making their first playoff starts. It was a night of firsts for players on both teams, as you would expect with so many young players.
MacKinnon recorded his first career playoff points, as did Tyson Barrie who recorded a pair of helpers in the win. Gabriel Landeskog also scored his first career playoff goal, as did Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula for the Wild.
The talk was all about the risky move made by Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, who pulled Varlamov with three minutes left in the third period. The move came withing inches of backfiring and blowing up in his face, as a clearing play by the Wild seemed headed for the empty net but Erik Johnson dove back to pull it off the goal line before crashing into the post. That was perhaps the biggest play of the game as it allowed Colorado to score just over a minute later as time was ticking down.
Of note to Sens fans, two time Senators 50 goal and 100 point scorer Dany Heatley was a healthy scratch for the Wild.
Game 2 goes Saturday night in Denver.