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ColoradoAvalanche.com web staff contributed to this story.
WILD at AVALANCHE
Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 1-0
TV: Altitude, NBCSN, RDS, TSN, Fox Sports North
Big story: The Avalanche can take a 2-0 lead in its Western Conference First Round series after holding home ice with a 5-4 overtime win against the Wild at Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Avalanche trailed 4-2 but scored twice in the final period to tie and again in overtime, with center Paul Stastny getting the tying goal and the winner about seven minutes into the extra 20 minutes.
"Paul has been a great leader for us since the start," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "[Thursday] he scored two goals, but he played a really good game. It was more than just the two goals.”
Wild: Minnesota had the puck on its stick prior to each Colorado goal in the third period and was unable to clear the zone.
"We let a game get away from us, but if we had won that game, there would be no guarantees," Yeo said. "There's enough positives to take from that game where we should feel good about ourselves. That was a winnable game for us. But I know we can be better."
Forward Jason Pominville hit the post in overtime, bringing back bad memories from last year's Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks, when Jason Zucker did the same thing. Chicago won that game a few minutes later and went on to win the series in five games.
"It's not easy. That's hockey," captain Mikko Koivu said. "If it were easy you're in the wrong spot. Now it's all about tomorrow. And we feel pretty good about ourselves and our game. We have to fix the little things."
Avalanche: Colorado on Thursday got physical with Minnesota, holding a 41-28 edge in hits, and improved to 5-0-1 this season against the Wild. Even so, the Avalanche knows it can improve on some things entering Game 2. Puck possession struggles (6-1 deficit in giveaways) and some missed opportunities on the power play (0-4) loomed large until Stastny's heroics.
"It's good for our guys to learn in winning," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "It's good for our confidence. It shows that what we're doing are the right things and it also gives us a bit of momentum. But I think it's a bit too early to say how much momentum it will give us."
Who's hot: Wild forward Erik Haula scored a goal Thursday and has at least a point in seven of his past eight games. Haula, who started the game Thursday on the fourth line, was moved up late in the game and will likely see more ice time in Game 2. … Stastny also had an assist Thursday and has seven goals and 15 points in his past 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Rookie Nathan MacKinnon had three assists in the Game 1 win, becoming the second youngest in NHL history with three points in a Stanley Cup Playoffs debut (Pierre Turgeon).
"It just shows the type of player [MacKinnon] is," Roy said. "I’m just impressed with him, from the first time I saw him playing a game for us through now. He’s been so receptive to teaching, he’s been working hard, he’s always level. That’s the thing. I know who’s going to show up tomorrow. He’s going to be the same guy. That’s pretty impressive.”
Injury report: Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper (upper body) will be back as the backup to Ilya Bryzgalov, while forward Jason Zucker (quad), defenseman Keith Ballard (groin) and goaltenders Josh Harding (illness) and Niklas Backstrom (abdominal) are out. … Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and John Mitchell (head) are out as is defenseman Cory Sarich (back).
“Nothing new to report on [Duchene and Mitchell]," Roy said. "They’re working with Scotty (Scott Woodward, assistant athletic trainer and physical therapist) and Matty (Matt Sokolowski, head athletic trainer), and everything is going well for them. They’re not close to playing.”