Saturday, June 25

St. Louis Blues pull off stunning comeback, down Avalanche 5-4 in overtime

The Avalanche was one minute from its first Western Conference finals in 20 years.

Instead, it’s back to St. Louis.

The Blues rallied from a 3-0 deficit to stun the Avalanche 5-4 in overtime in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal series Wednesday night at Ball Arena.

Former University of Denver standout Tyler Bozak scored the winner at 3:39 into the extra period in a gut-punch loss for Colorado. The Avs were 56 seconds away from the series-clinching victory capped by an epic performance from superstar Nathan MacKinnon.

MacKinnon scored three goals in a rare playoff hat trick, the last one a spectacular end-to-end unassisted tally to give the Avs a 4-3 lead with 2:46 remaining in regulation. He had a hand in all four goals.

“It’s over with. We lost,” MacKinnon said. “The playoffs aren’t for points and attention or whatever. It’s just to get wins and that’s how everyone feels in our room. We’re all tugging on the same rope.”

Game 6 is Friday night in St. Louis with Colorado leading the series, 3-2. Game 7, if necessary, is at Ball Arena on Sunday.

MacKinnon scored twice and assisted on Gabe Landeskog’s goal to give the Avs a 3-0 lead early in the second period. But the Blues rallied for three consecutive scores, the last one by defenseman Justin Faulk at 15:14 of the third period.

Exactly two minutes later, MacKinnon completed an incredible end-to-end rush with the puck by lifting a shot over the shoulder of goalie Ville Husso as the Avs retook the lead with less than three minutes to play.

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The crowd went crazy and hundreds of hats were thrown onto the ice. The Western Conference finals were near.

The Colorado Avalanche ice crew pick ...

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

The Colorado Avalanche ice crew pick up hats in front of Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) who scored a hat trick against the St. Louis Blues in the third period during game five of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at Ball Arena Center May 25, 2022.

The Blues, however, pulled Husso for a sixth attacker and Robert Thomas scored his second goal of the game on a rebound off goalie Darcy Kuemper with 56 seconds to go.

“They played with more desperation than us in the second half of the game,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said.

MacKinnon, who had zero goals and only three assists in the first four games of the series, had two goals in the first period before assisting on the third one for a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Blues got within 3-1 to begin the third period. Thomas scored at 9:57 before Faulk tied it.

The Avs had a flawless opening frame, taking total control.

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