Avalanche loses, pushed to decisive Game 7 against Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It’s now do or die for the Avalanche.

Zach Parise scored two goals and the Minnesota Wild added two empty-net goals as it beat the Avalanche 5-2 on Monday night to force a decisive Game 7 in the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

Game 7 is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pepsi Center.

“It’s one of those nights where you just want to keep touching it and keep having the puck,” Parise said.

The winner Wednesday will advance to play the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference semifinals.

“We don’t have any time to hang our heads here and feel sorry for ourselves,” Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog said. “We’re just going to get right back on the horse here and get ready for Game 7.”

The home team has won every game in the series.

Parise scored 49 seconds into the game on a power play to get Minnesota off to a fast start. Mikael Granlund scored later in the period to make it 2-0.

But Paul Stastny scored his fourth goal in the series shorthanded to make it 2-1 and Nick Holden scored on the power play in the second period to tie the game. The Avalanche had been 1 for 20 in previous power plays in the series.

Parise put the Wild ahead with 6:29 left in the game and knocked in the puck past Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov on a shot by Mikko Koivu.

Varlamov was pulled by coach Patrick Roy with 2:44 remaining, but unlike previous moves in Games 1 and 5, the Wild capitalized, with Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella scoring into empty nets.

Matt Duchene returned to the Avalanche lineup after missing the past month because of a left knee injury. He recorded an assist.

“He was flying out there. He was playing well. He was playing hard,” Roy said.

Ryan O’Reilly had two assists, but there wasn’t much frustration afterward for the Avalanche.

“If that’s what it’s going to need to be, then that’s what it’s going to need to be,” Avalanche right wing P.A. Parenteau said. “It’s been a battle back and forth with the Wild. We’re lucky we have the home ice advantage, but we’re going to have to be ready.”

AVALANCHE VS. WILD

Best-of-seven; Avalanche leads 3-2

April 17: Avalanche 5-4, OT

April 19: Avalanche 4-2

April 21: Minnesota 1-0, OT

April 24: Minnesota 2-1

April 26: Avalanche 4-3, OT

April 28: Minnesota 5-2

April 30: at Pepsi Center, 7:30 p.m.