DENVER (AP) -- Andrew Brunette threw his stick in the air, skated to the sideboards and was mobbed by his Minnesota Wild teammates.
Just behind the celebration, Colorado goalie Patrick Roy sat on his knees in the crease, slumped over, with his head down and the puck behind him.
For the Avalanche, it wasn't supposed to happen like this.
Brunette's goal 3:25 into overtime capped Minnesota's improbable comeback as the Wild beat the Avalanche 3-2 Tuesday night to become just the 17th team in league history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit.
"Nobody expected us to beat the Avalanche," said Marian Gaborik, who scored Minnesota's second goal. Every player put heart and soul into it. The feeling is something that I don't have words for right now. I don't know. It's just unbelievable."
Gaborik was right. No one gave the Wild much of a chance, not even their coach.
Colorado entered the series with two Stanley Cup titles in seven years and four straight trips to the conference finals. Their goalie was Roy, the NHL's career wins leader in the playoffs and a four-time Stanley Cup champion.
On the other side, Minnesota was making the first playoff appearance in the franchise's three-year history and its players had 227 playoff games between them -- 13 less than Roy. Goalie Manny Fernandez had 19 minutes of postseason experience before the series.
Some Wild players said before the series that they would be happy with just one victory against the Avalanche, and coach Jacques Lemaire said after Game 4 that his team had little chance of mounting a comeback.
They were wrong.
The Wild won three straight -- the last two in overtime -- to become just the eighth team in league history to come back from a 3-1 deficit with two victories on the road.
Minnesota will face Vancouver on Friday night in the start of the next Western Conference series. The Canucks beat St. Louis 4-1 Tuesday night.
"It's still hard to describe," said Brunette, who also had two assists. "This is the time of my life for me and for 20 other guys. This is something really special."
In the other seventh games Tuesday night, Vancouver also rallied from a 3-1 deficit in games to beat St. Louis 4-1, and Philadelphia routed Toronto 6-1.
The Avalanche let yet another opponent hang around and got knocked out of the first round for the first time in five years because of it.
Four times in the last five years, Colorado had to play a Game 7 after blowing a 3-1 lead. The Avalanche won three of those series, with the only other loss coming against Edmonton in 1998 -- the last time Colorado didn't make it past the first round.
"To be in position for a Game 7, you leave yourself vulnerable to have bad bounces, breaks and calls that go against you, and you end up walking away losers," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "And that is what happened."
But it's not like Minnesota had the odds in its favor. Of the 193 previous teams that trailed a series 3-1, only 16 came back to win. Just seven did it with two road wins.
It didn't matter to the Wild.
They stuck to their defensive style and rode Fernandez's hot glove to win three games in Denver after going 0-6-2 here in three years.
"We didn't put them away in Game 5 and this is what happens," said Colorado's Joe Sakic, who had a goal and an assist.
Not that Colorado didn't have any chances.
The Avalanche had 45 shots -- 17 in the second period -- but three hit posts and watched as Fernandez swatted away just about everything else. Fernandez stopped 108 of 114 shots.
Minnesota 0 1 1 1 -- 3
Colorado 0 1 1 0 -- 2
First Period--None. Penalty--Morris, Col (high-sticking), 12:08.
Second Period--1, Colorado, Forsberg 2 (Sakic, Hejduk), 6:16. 2, Minnesota, Dupuis 2 (Zholtok, Brunette), 7:38 (pp). Penalties--Sekeras, Min (holding stick), 3:57; Foote, Col (boarding), 7:13; Sekeras, Min (cross-checking), 14:50.
Third Period--3, Colorado, Sakic 6 (Tanguay, Morris), 13:15 (pp). 4, Minnesota, Gaborik 4 (Brunette, Kuba), 15:32 (pp). Penalties--Foote, Col (interference), 4:41; Kuba, Min (roughing), 11:50; Forsberg, Col (high-sticking), 11:50; Hendrickson, Min (holding stick), 12:31; Blake, Col (charging), 14:57.
Overtime--5, Minnesota, Brunette 3 (Zholtok, Kuba), 3:25. Penalties--None.
Shots on goal--Minnesota 8-6-14-2--30. Colorado 12-17-10-6--45.
Power-play Opportunities--Minnesota 2 of 4; Colorado 1 of 3.
Goalies--Minnesota, Fernandez 3-0 (45 shots-43 saves). Colorado, Roy 3-4 (30-27).
A--18,007 (18,007). T--2:52.
Referees--Kerry Fraser, Brad Watson. Linesmen--Tim Nowak, Scott Driscoll.
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