Avs' MacKinnon delivers final break

It's uncanny just how calm and focused the young Avs seem to be when they're in that position. Perhaps that's a result of Roy pulling his goalie earlier than most other coaches normally would for the extra attacker, something he's done all season long.

"When it happens a couple of times, you do build some confidence. You're more patient, you're not forcing any plays. It's like a power-play kind of thing," Parenteau said. "It was no different tonight. We got it done again. I don't know what the recipe is exactly, but it's pretty special. I've never seen anything like it."

It was just another moment in a game that had all kinds of twists and turns.

A 2-1 Avs lead in the third period was erased by Wild goals 1:51 apart from Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak. You could hear a pin drop in this building after those two goals gave the visiting team a 3-2 lead.

Suddenly, you're thinking the Wild are going home up 3-2 with a chance to wrap up the series at home, where they've dominated the Avs.

But no, the "Why Not Us?" Avalanche pulled yet another trick out of the bag on this night.

They gave themselves a chance to win with a much better effort than their two losses in Minnesota, where they barely touched the puck and were outshot badly.

They had 35 shots on this night, exactly one more than the 34 total shots they had over two games in Minnesota.

"Finally, we got some chances," Roy said. "I think we're going in the right direction. It's very positive."

Most notable was the presence of MacKinnon, who rediscovered his legs after being bottled up in Minnesota, on this night.

His rush up the ice in the second period while both teams were playing 4-on-4 was something to behold, MacKinnon rocketing in the Wild zone, backing up the opposition and dropping the puck back to Andre Benoit, whose pass to Cody McLeod was tipped in for a 2-1 lead.

"The first period was tough, but on that 4-on-4 [in the second period], I kind of got my jump back," MacKinnon said. "It's always nice to have some open space. Benny and Holden made a great play there on that goal. From there, I just started feeling more confident. I don't want to be like that. I want to be more level-headed, I'm not going to lie, though, I definitely had more jam at that point."

The whole team had more jam. It came a day after its head coach held a passionate media availability in which he, ahem, asked his players to put their manhood on the table.

So, Patrick, did they Saturday night?

"What do you think? I'm happy," Roy said. "We all agree on this. We did tonight [put their manhood on the table]. Our guys played with a lot of passion and a lot of heart."

They'll need to bring that game to Minnesota, where the young Avs looked overwhelmed playing in a hostile rink.

But they might get help. Star center Matt Duchene, who has missed the past 12 games recovering from a knee injury, could be back as soon as Game 6.


"We're going to take a serious look at it," Roy said of Duchene's availability for Game 6.

Thing is, doesn't this series feel like it's going seven? Sure does.

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