Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Stastny tied the game in the final seconds of regulation, then scored the winner in overtime as the Colorado Avalanche took a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
Stastny scored with 13.4 seconds showing on the clock in regulation, then gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with his marker at 7:27 in overtime.
On the winner, Tyson Barrie kept the puck in at the left point and was able to elude Jason Pominville before pushing the puck to the low left side. From there, Nathan MacKinnon picked up the puck and skated around the right side where his pass was one-timed in by Stastny for the win.
Jamie McGinn and Ryan O'Reilly each posted a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 thanks to their first division title since the 2002-03 season. Gabriel Landeskog also had a goal.
Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for Colorado, which had the second-fewest points in the NHL last season.
"We are confident in ourselves and we always play to win," said Stastny. "It's just a bit different pace out there, there's a lot more grinding and a lot more tedious. We have to get our rest and get ready for Saturday."
Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula scored for the Wild, who are back in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing out four straight years.
Zach Parise had two assists and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 26 shots for Minnesota, which took the top wild card spot in the Western Conference.
"I think despite the outcome of the game we did a lot of good things out there tonight," said Parise. "We made some mistakes in the third that resulted in the puck being in our net, and it cost us."
Game 2 of the series is Saturday in Denver.
Colorado cut its deficit to 4-3 at 7:13 of the third period when a turnover by Brodziak in his own zone was picked up by O'Reilly, who fired a backhand on net that McGinn put in on a rebound.
With Varlamov pulled for an extra attacker Minnesota nearly sealed the win with a clear that went the length of the ice, but Erik Johnson hustled down and swept the puck away mere inches from the goalline.
His play paid off a bit later as the Avalanche peppered Bryzgalov with shots and finally got one through.
Holding the puck behind the net, MacKinnon sent a pass to the left point where Johnson blasted a shot with Stastny putting home the rebound under the crossbar from the right side to send the game to overtime.
"It's just like very goal, there's four or five guys that make it happen," said Stastny. "There was so much spin on that shot I didn't even see it go in."
Earlier, Colorado got on the board with 6:46 to play in the opening period when Stastny sent a little dish from the right side of the net to the front where Landeskog pushed it in.
Minnesota answered two minutes later as Marco Scandella blasted a shot from the left point that was stopped, with the rebound getting pushed over to the right side where Coyle roofed it.
The Wild took a 2-1 lead on the power play at 11:05 of the second after Suter's shot from the high slot was tipped by a Colorado skater and made its way past Varlamov.
It took just over three minutes for the Avs to tie the game again, as MacKinnon skated down the left wing and pulled up at the circle, sending a pass to the front where O'Reilly blasted it into the left corner.
The Wild scored the next two goals to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission.
With Colorado on a line change, Jonas Brodin fired the puck out of his zone to Haula, who grabbed it near the blueline and skated down the wing before cutting to the front and slipping the puck between Varlamov's pads at 16:08.
Just over two minutes later, Matt Cooke grabbed a loose puck during a scrum along the boards to the left of the net and centered it for Brodziak, who shot it in for the two-goal margin.
It's the third postseason meeting between the clubs, with each team winning once ... Colorado took four of the five games against Minnesota in the regular season ... Minnesota went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Colorado failed on its four chances ... MacKinnon had three assists.