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Wild force Game 7 with Avalanche, thanks to Zach Parise's game-winner

The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will play a Game 7 after Zach Parise propelled the Wild to a Game 6 win on home ice.

Parise scored the deciding goal in a 5-2 victory, his second of the night, at 13:31 of the third period, getting his stick on a Mikko Koivu shot to deflect it past Semyon Varlamov.

Parise also opened the scoring in this game, putting the Wild on the board with a powerplay marker just 49 seconds in. 

Mikael Granlund made it 2-0, sneaking a shot through Varlamov's five-hole at the midway point of the first. It was one the Avalanche netminder should have had -- something we've rarely had to say this season. It pointed to an Avalanche team that simply didn't have it on this night.

But the Avs found it shortly thereafter, responding later in the opening frame. After Paul Stastny was sent to the box for one of those trendy groin-spears that all the cool kids are doing, he served his time, then emerged from the sin bin just in time to be sprung on a breakaway. (Poor Cody McCormick, on the other hand? After that cup check, one wonders if he'll ever be sprung again.) Stastny scored to cut the lead to one. 

Then, in the second, Nick Holden scored on a powerplay to tie things up, and further suggest that amassing an early two-goal lead is the quickest way to lose in these playoffs.

Fortunately, Parise's second of the night served as a rebuttal to this theory.

But the Wild were hardly out of the woods at that point. When Varlamov left the goal with around three minutes to go, Minnesota -- the entire state, let alone the guys on the ice -- had to be holding their breath. After all, the team had failed to survive Patrick Roy's early goalie-pulls in Games 1 and 5.

This time, however, Minnesota did what they couldn't in those heart-breaking OT losses, burying the Avalanche with an empty-net goal. Then, because it felt so good, they scored another one.

Game 7 goes Wednesday night in Colorado.

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