Playoff Highlights: MacKinnon Makes the Wild Cry


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The Colorado Avalanche are preparing a playoff re-match, visiting the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center before hosting them in the Pepsi Center. While the clock winds down to 2014-15 regular season hockey, let’s revisit the best three games at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.

Monday’s post covered how the Cardiac Kids stole Game 1 from the Wild.  Yesterday we revisited the dominant game one line had.Today, let’s look at the Game 5 OT win that surely made the Wild cry.

Game 5

The Colorado Avalanche have long been known for their eleventh-hour heroics. Let’s face it — there have been times that they haven’t been sharp for a lot of the game, but they pull out all the stops, and tie it in the final seconds — before going on to win in overtime.

Game 5 didn’t necessarily see the Avalanche sitting back on their heels. Rather, they were coming off of a disheartening double loss in Minnesota. After being such a strong road team all season, they just couldn’t get past Minnesota’s cloggy neutral zone. Then, of course, there was the Matt Cooke knee-on-knee hit that took offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie out.

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  • Not much happened in the first period of Game 5. There were a couple penalties, but that was about it.

    The second period was when things started to get going. Scoring started when Cody McLeod scored a short-handed goal. That’s right — remember when our energy player not only scored a playoff goal, but a shortie at that? Unfortunately, that devious Wild Matt Moulson scored just over a minute later.

    After that, one of my favorite plays of the playoffs occurred — Gabriel Landeskog tackled fellow Scandinavian Mikko Koivu like he’d been raised on American football. A little captain-on-captain action resulted in both players getting called for roughing.

    Though the Avalanche hated to lose Landeskog, the resulting open ice was all they needed. Defenseman Nick Holden pinched in and put the Avalanche up 2-1.

    Bad guys, er, Minnesota players Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak scored two quick goals in the third period. The Avalanche were pressing, until… Landeskog got called for one of the most ridiculous playoff penalties. The referee sent him to the penalty box at 15:27 for “unsportsmanlike conduct” — because he sprayed goalie Darcy Kuemper with snow. Even rookie Nate MacKinnon remarked, “Usually the refs give you a warning before they call that as a penalty.” Not these refs– with under four minutes to go, and the Avalanche down by one, our captain was going to the box.

    At the time, head coach Patrick Roy said of the penalty:

    "“It was hard to remain calm after the call. When I looked at the clock, I said we’ll have about 2 minutes (to tie the game). We had to kill that one. That was a huge kill.”"

    Kill it they did. Guess what coach Roy did as soon as Landeskog came out of the penalty box — pulled the goalie, of course. With 2:22 left in the game, the Avalanche were skating 6-on-5. For once, the Avalanche did not leave it to the last minute. With fully 1:16 left to go, PA Parenteau tied the game.

    Most of the overtime period counted down before Nate MacKinnon had just had enough. He displayed the supreme skill for which the Avalanche had chosen him first overall:

    He accepted a pass from Landeskog and beat Kuemper like he was a peewee league goalie. In that moment, with the whole team celebrating, his helmet came flying off, and he looked every inch the exuberant teenager that he was — is still, really.

    Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo said it was all “frustrating and obviously disappointing.” Defenseman Ryan Suter added:

    "“It’s too bad. I mean, we played hard, we came out in the third and played the way we wanted to. They missed a call, and we pay for it.”"

    He was referring to Stastny’s possible entering the offensive zone before the puck in the play that resulted in Parenteau’s game-tying goal. I’m sure Tyson Barrie, hobbling around on crutches, felt for them.

    How about you, Avs Nation? What did you think of Game 5?