Four times the Colorado Avalanche had a 1 goal lead. Four times the Minnesota Wild came back to even the score. Then Nino Niederreiter played the hero in overtime as the Wild Card Minnesota Wild upset the division leading Avalanche in 7 games.
The series was exclusively won by the home team, right up until the end when the Wild finally took one on the road.
Ilya Bryzgalov ended up getting the win in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who left with just over 8 minutes left in the third after getting in a collision earlier in the game, and then aggravating it before leaving the game with what appeared to be a lower body injury.
Nick Holden had put the Avs up one in the first, with Jamie McGinn standing on top of Kuemper. Mikko Koivu snapped one past Varlamov to even the score before McGinn scored one of his own to put the Avs up 2-1 after 1.
Heatley scored his first goal of the series in the second to send the teams to the room even with one period of regulation left. Paul Stastny and Niederreiter exchanged goals early in the third and then Erik Johnson and Spurgeon swapped late third period markers, to set up Niederreiter’s OT winner.
The Minnesota Wild will move on to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in round 2, which begins on Friday night.