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El Nino Leads Wild Past Avalanche

Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Nino Neiderreiter scored his second goal of the night 5:02 into overtime and the Wild beat the Avalanche 5-4 in game seven of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs Wednesday night. Minnesota advances to face Chicago in the second round.

Colorado’s Nick Holden scored a controversial goal just over three minutes in to the opening period for a 1-0 Avs lead. A player appeared to greatly impede Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s attempt to stop the shot, but no penalty was called and inexplicably the goal stood.

The Wild answered with the tying goal at 8:04 off the stick of captain Mikko Koivu, assisted by Charlie Coyle and Matt Moulson.

Jamie McGinn gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with a goal at 13:38 of the first period, and the teams went into the locker room with shots on goal favoring the Wild 12-9.

Dany Heatley scored his first goal since February at 7:27 of the second period, which was the middle frame’s only tally and sent the game to the second intermission tied 2-2. The Wild outshot the Avs 8-5 in the second and 20-14 through two periods.

The teams traded goals in a wild third period, with Paul Stastny starting the scoring at 2:55 to make it a 3-2 lead in favor of Colorado.

The Wild answered with a Niederreiter goal at 6:33 to tie things up at three apiece, but the Avalanche re-took the lead on an Erik Johnson goal at 11:16.

With 2:27 left in regulation Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon executed a perfect toe drag move to buy some space and got a shot past Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov to send the game to overtime.

Neiderreiter won the game for Minnesota early in overtime. Heatley started the rush with a pass from the Wild end through the middle of the ice where it connected with Kyle Brodziak, who dropped a pass to “El Nino” on a two-on-one break. Neiderreiter sniped the puck past Varlomov to send the Wild to victory.

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