Daily NHL playoff results: Darren Helm calls game over, Avs resolve second round


Game 6: Avalanche 3, Blues 2 | Colorado wins 4-2

Who was the guy? When you win a series with a goal in the last six seconds of regulation time, you are The Guy. For a guy like Darren Helm — 35, memorable as a Red Wing but in his first season as a depth player at Colorado — the call is even easier. Helm had gone eight minutes unchanged from the 13-minute mark to the five-minute mark and then Jared Bednar took him out at the end of the game. Was Bednar looking for a babysitter before overtime? Did he have a premonition? Was he watching in 2009, when Helm ended the Western Conference Finals before scoring a single regular season goal? Any of these reasons would have been acceptable.

The payoff was as good as it gets, and that makes narrative gold. It’s hard to imagine how tight things would have been for Colorado if this series had gone to Game 7. All that room for error the Avs had a few days ago – of course they were trying to avoid a fourth straight second-round flop, but they had a 3-1 lead – would have gone up in smoke. And as big as Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and the rest of the Avs’ big guns have been (and are and will be), it was Helm who helped transport them into a new space.

What was the key? JT Compher discovers Blues goalkeeper Ville Husso. Of the first 33 shots Husso faced, he stopped 31. It was Compher — another secondary guy on the Avs roster — scoring Colorado’s two non-Helm goals. His second goal, a rushing goal with less than 10 minutes left just after a Colorado power play expired, was crucial. If the Avs play much longer from behind, who knows what happens?

As for Husso, the shots that beat him might not have been Grade A chances, but they were good enough. He deserves some credit here too; he started the playoffs as a starter for the Blues, then lost his job to Jordan Binnington, then had to come back in the middle of the series against one of the most overwhelming offensive teams in the league.

Key stat: 19-2. It was the advantage of the shot attempt that MacKinnon’s line held against Ryan O’Reilly’s. With MacKinnon and O’Reilly on the ice together at five-on-five, Colorado controlled over 95% of all expected bases. The high-risk scoring odds were 6-0 Avs. No, Colorado’s first line didn’t produce a goal, but they basically played wide with their Blues counterparts. It counts for something.

Game time: Second-half stoppage by Josh Manson on Jordan Kyrou. Manson, as you know, is a defender.

It’s hard to overstate how great this one felt at the time and how great it turned out to be by the end of the series. Kyrou is St. Louis’ most dangerous forward – look what he did to poor Darcy Kuemper in the first place. Manson may have been a bit lucky that Kyrou had to shoot backhand, but wow. This save was also part of a solid night from Manson overall. Now he has to face his father.

When it was over: When Helm scored. Had there been a few more seconds on the clock, given what we saw the Blues pull off in Game 5, that would have been the pick.

Avalanche Anxiety Meter: ✌️ … As in, peace in the second round. They can worry about Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on Saturday morning.

Blues Worry Meter: 🎶 … I’ll miss having the Blues around, and I would have loved to see them play their part in Game 7. Alas, it’s MacKinnon versus McDavid time. I’m sure they understand.

Three stars

Meeting for Saturday

Hurricanes at Rangers, 8 p.m. ET (Hurricanes lead 3-2)

(Photo: Andy Cross/Getty Images)


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