The...chips...were on the table for the Avalanche in overtime Saturday night. Nathan MacKinnon swept them all into the pot with the winner. Doesn't he know the legal gambling age in Colorado is 21?

The 18-year old rookie's shot past Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper at 3:27 won another overtime thriller for the Avs, who took a 4-3 decision. The victory gave the Avs a 3-2 first-round playoff series lead. Game 6 is Monday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

MacKinnon scored his first career playoff overtime goal and had an assist on P.A. Parenteau's tying goal with 1:14 left in regulation. MacKinnon credited teammate Paul Statsny for initiating the play that eventually led to the winner.

"I was screaming for it. Little saucer pass to my blade. Thankfully it worked out," MacKinnon said.

MacKinnon said the Avs' overall play was much improved from their showing in Minnesota in Games 3 and 4.

"We were pretty good off the rush tonight, but we were also good down low," he said. "We had some good plays on the forecheck. I think we chipped it in early. We found our legs. We were very patient, I thought."

Coach Patrick Roy reached into his bag of tricks again late in the game, pulling goalie Semyon Varlamov with more than two minutes left for the extra skater and his team down 3-2. Parenteau came to the rescue with the late tying goal this time, getting his first point of the series at a good time.

Parenteau chipped a shot over the left shoulder of Kuemper. Tie game, on to overtime — again.

"I liked our game. I thought we were sharp early on, getting the puck out of our zone," Roy said. "Down a goal, we never panicked. We stayed calm. We were just waiting for our opportunity, and we got it. Thank you to our fans. They gave our guys some energy."

Roy said there's a chance injured center Matt Duchene plays in Game 6. "We're going to take a serious look at it."
Asked about adjustments the Avs made after scoring just once in two games in Minnesota, Parenteau said, "We skated a little more. We talked about moving our feet (more). ... That was a big part, skating, competing."

Added Statsny, "We got a little more physical."

MacKinnon's goal preserved the Avs' streak of not losing in regulation all season when leading after two periods (36-0-3), but it was not a good third period overall for the Avs until the very end. They lost a 2-1 lead on goals by Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak, the latter score coming after Colorado's Jan Hejda lost his stick in the Avs' zone, then failed an easy clearout attempt after he was given a stick by a teammate.

That put a real damper on the crowd, which had been loud all night. Things seemed even worse when, with 4:33 left, Avs captain Gabe Landeskog was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct for spraying ice in the face of Kuemper. It's something that happens a lot in hockey and almost always is let go, but not this time, which sent the crowd howling at referees Brad Meier and Kelly Sutherland.

But the Avs killed off the penalty and also survived a scary moment when Minnesota's Charlie Coyle came into the Avs' zone with the puck. He was checked hard into the boards, though. Perhaps the Avs got away with a hold against Coyle, balancing out the call on Landeskog.

Asked about being down 3-2 late, Stastny said: "It's deflating. For a shift, they you forget about it. Sometimes it's easier to play without a lead. You go hard and get after it."

Hejda lost his stick twice and both times the Avs had to scramble around in their own end trying to overcome essentially 5-on-4 situations. Both times, the puck ended up in the back of the Avs' net.

The Wild took a 3-2 lead at 6:25 of the third period when Brodziak scored. It came after Hejda lost his stick, but all seemed to be well when, after borrowing the stick of a teammate, Hejda had an easy clear of the puck, which would have gotten the Avs a much-needed line change in a 2-2 game.