This time around the “genius” strategy of Patrick Roy to pull the goalie with more than the usual amount of time backfired in a big way as the Minnesota Wild scored twice with Semyon Varlamov on the bench to take Game 6 5-2 and force game 7 back in Denver.
Zach Praise opened the scoring in the first minute on a power play, his first of 4 points on the night. Parise deflected Ryan Suter‘s point shot past Varlamov just 49 seconds into the game with Nathan MacKinnon already in the box for holding.
The Wild doubled the lead just before the midway mark of the first, with Mikael Granlund starting the rush and then sneaking into the Colorado zone as the trailer, and Jason Pominville found him for a quick wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle that eluded Varlamov.
As the Avalanche were killing a 5-on-3 advantage, Paul Stastny stepped out of the penalty box and was greeted with a clearing pass from Ryan O’Reilly and sent on a breakaway, which he finished on Darcy Kuemper. The Avs were back within 1 after 20 minutes.
O’Reilly played set-up man for the only goal of the second period, while on a power play. O’Reilly had the puck beside the Wild net and put a back-door pass to Nick Holden who re-directed it past Kuemper to tie the game. Matt Duchene also got an assist on the play, for his first point of the playoffs in his first game back after missing almost a month with a knee injury.
Parise scored to give the Wild the lead again with just over 6 mintues left in the game, deflecting a shot from Mikko Koivu past Varlamov.
Roy then pulled Varlamov with 2:44 remaining and Pominville scored into the empty net to put the Wild up a pair with just 1:26 left. Roy then left Varlamov on the bench for the ensuing faceoff and Marco Scandella scored 30 seconds later to seal the deal and force game 7.