Parise, Wild Force Winner-Takes-All

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- This is why the Minnesota Wild brought Zach Parise home two years ago.

Parise, the Minnesota native, scored two goals and had four points to lift the Wild to a 5-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series at Xcel Energy Center on Monday night.

The Wild evened the best-of-7 series at 3-3 and forced the need for a Game 7 on Wednesday at Pepsi Center in Denver.

Parise also helped give the Wild a chance to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time since 2003, when they went to the Western Conference Final. The Avalanche haven't won a playoff series since 2008, when they beat the Wild in six games.

Each of Parise's goals came off deflections from in front of the net, including the game-winner with 6:29 to play in the third period. He tied his career-high for points in a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

On the winner, Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda tried to clear the puck up the right-wing wall, but the Wild held it in. Mikko Koivu ripped a shot from the left point and Parise, who was getting checked in the back by Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov, got his stick out and deflected the puck in off his blade.

Colorado coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov with 2:44 left in the third period, continuing his trend of pulling the goalie for a 6-on-5 advantage earlier than it's typically done by coaches in the NHL.

It worked in Games 1 and 5, but not Monday; Jason Pominville scored an empty-net goal at 18:34 and Marco Scandella added another 30 seconds later.

The Avalanche came back from an early 2-0 deficit. Paul Stastny scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and defenseman Nick Holden added a power-play goal in the second.

Colorado center Matt Duchene returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his left knee on March 29. Duchene, who missed 13 straight games, had an assist on Holden's goal.

Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper finished with 21 saves. The Avalanche were outshot 78-38 between Games 3 and 4 at Xcel Energy Center, but they were far more offensive-minded in Game 6.

Parise and Mikael Granlund scored to give the Wild a 2-0 lead 9:35 into the first period, but the Avalanche used their special teams to mount a comeback and tie the game.

Stastny scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 16:59 of the first period, moments after Colorado finished killing off a 5-on-3 for 67 seconds.

Stastny was coming out of the penalty box when Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly blocked Wild defenseman Ryan Suter's shot from the point. O'Reilly looked up, saw Stastny behind the Wild defense, collected the puck and found him with a stretch pass, springing him for a shorthanded breakaway from center ice.

Stastny finished it with a deke to his forehand and a stick-side shot past Kuemper.

The Avalanche finally figured out their power play early in the second period. Duchene was a big part of it. He was also a big missing piece in the first five games, when Colorado went 1-for-18, with the one being an empty-net goal in Game 2.

With Wild forward Matt Moulson in the box for slashing Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado settled down on the power play and had crisp puck movement. Granlund failed to clear the puck down the ice when he had a chance, and the Avalanche made Minnesota pay.

Holden delivered a hard pass up to PA Parenteau on the left point. He went diagonally across to Duchene, who then moved the puck down to O'Reilly below the right circle. Holden went backdoor behind Granlund and Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon, and O'Reilly found him for a redirection past Kuemper for the game-tying goal.

The Wild jumped on the Avalanche early with a power-play goal from Parise off a deflection from in front of the net 49 seconds into the game. Suter's shot from the right side hit Parise and went in to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

Nino Niederreiter had a breakaway chance 17 seconds later, but Varlamov made a glove save to prevent the Wild from taking a 2-0 lead before the fans could even settle down from a raucous pregame show.

The Wild, though, eventually did grab a 2-0 lead when Granlund scored from the right circle at 9:35 of the first period. Holden jumped out of position and Pominville's pass found Granlund, who had room to shoot and sent a wrist shot through Varlamov's five-hole.

Minnesota had the opportunity to take a 3-0 lead over five minutes later when Stastny was called for tripping and then Andre Benoit was sent off for a delay of game. Suter had two shots on goal during the 5-on-3, but his third attempt was blocked and nobody, except O'Reilly of course, saw Stastny all alone at the red line.

Varlamov preserved the one-goal deficit with a big pad save on Erik Haula's redirection of Justin Fontaine's pass with 1:27 remaining in the first period.

Wild defenseman Nate Prosser led a 3-on-1 rush with Parise and Pominville 1:55 into the second period, but Minnesota didn't even get off a shot on goal.

Holden scored less than three minutes later to tie the game.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

Scoring Summary
1st Period
00:49MIN PPG - Zach Parise (2) ASST: Ryan Suter (2), Mikko Koivu (4) 1 - 0 MIN
09:35MIN Mikael Granlund (2) ASST: Jason Pominville (4), Zach Parise (6) 2 - 0 MIN
16:59COL SHG - Paul Stastny (4) ASST: Ryan O'Reilly (3) 2 - 1 MIN
2nd Period
04:47COL PPG - Nick Holden (2) ASST: Ryan O'Reilly (4), Matt Duchene (1) 2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
13:31MIN Zach Parise (3) ASST: Mikko Koivu (5), Ryan Suter (3) 3 - 2 MIN
18:34MIN EN - Jason Pominville (1) ASST: Erik Haula (1), Zach Parise (7) 4 - 2 MIN
19:04MIN EN - Marco Scandella (2) ASST: NONE 5 - 2 MIN
Three Stars of the Game
Zach Parise
Zach Parise
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 4PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 19:11
Mikael Granlund
Mikael Granlund
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:10
Mikko Koivu
Mikko Koivu
G: 0Shots: 0
A: 2Hits: 3
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 21:17
Penalty Summary
1st Period
00:26COL Nathan MacKinnon  Holding against  Charlie Coyle
03:19MIN Dany Heatley  Slashing against  Patrick Bordeleau
06:45MIN Charlie Coyle  Roughing against  Gabriel Landeskog
06:45COL Gabriel Landeskog  Roughing against  Charlie Coyle
12:36MIN Mikko Koivu  Tripping against  PA Parenteau
14:49COL Paul Stastny  Slashing against  Cody McCormick
15:42COL Andre Benoit  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
2nd Period
03:27MIN Matt Moulson  Slashing against  Nathan MacKinnon
16:15COL Nick Holden  Interference against  Matt Moulson
16:15MIN Matt Moulson  Hi-sticking against  Nick Holden
17:01MIN Zach Parise  Tripping against  Andre Benoit
17:01COL Andre Benoit  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Zach Parise
3rd Period
05:34MIN Clayton Stoner  Interference against  Max Talbot
20:00COL Patrick Bordeleau  Misconduct (10 min) against  Clayton Stoner
20:00COL Cody McLeod  Misconduct (10 min) against  Nate Prosser
20:00MIN Clayton Stoner  Misconduct (10 min) against  Patrick Bordeleau
20:00MIN Nate Prosser  Misconduct (10 min) against  Cody McLeod
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/41/3
Faceoff Wins3439
Blocked Shots1114
Penalty Minutes3234
2N. HoldenD10-11220:51
5N. GueninD0010016:21
6E. JohnsonD00-21021:36
8J. HejdaD00-10020:24
9M. DucheneC01-10018:52
11J. McGinnL0005015:46
15P. ParenteauR00-11017:49
24M. ClicheC000009:41
25M. TalbotC00-10016:33
26P. StastnyC10-22220:20
29N. MacKinnonC00-31218:43
42B. MaloneC000009:02
44R. WilsonD00-11017:39
55C. McLeodL0003106:15
58P. BordeleauL0000105:39
61A. BenoitD00-21418:39
90R. O'ReillyC02-14020:05
92G. LandeskogL00-33219:10
1S. Varlamov1821.85758:12
3C. CoyleC0021218:02
4C. StonerD00101211:07
6M. ScandellaD1022021:45
8C. McCormickC000006:15
9M. KoivuC0210221:17
11Z. PariseL2222219:11
14J. FontaineR000005:50
15D. HeatleyL0000212:06
20R. SuterD0213026:41
21K. BrodziakC0002010:27
22N. NiederreiterR0003012:07
25J. BrodinD0022024:06
26M. MoulsonL0001415:25
29J. PominvilleR1112016:12
39N. ProsserD00001012:15
46J. SpurgeonD0012022:10
56E. HaulaC0112015:34
64M. GranlundC1011018:10
35D. Kuemper2123.91360:00