DENVER — Tyler Bosak and St. Louis Blues experienced nearly every emotion imaginable over the course of a win- or season-ending game in which they trailed by three goals.
In the end, they landed on this unlikely – jubilation.
Buzak scored 3:38 in overtime and repelled the Blues in Game Five of the Western Conference semifinals, overcoming a pair of deficits in a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Bozak, the fourth midfield, fired a shot from near the blueline past Darcy Kuemper, capping a superb comeback for St. Louis.
“It was a great hockey game,” Bozak said. “I’m sure everyone watching it thought the same thing.”
Robert Thomas had two goals, including a tie tally 56 seconds before the end of the regulation, for a resilient Blues team. It’s the latest goal associated with the Blues when facing elimination, according to NHL Stats. Vladimir Tarasenko and Justin Falk also scored, Nick Lady scored four assists and Pavel Bukhnevich two.
They never complained – until losing 3-0 late in the second half and 4-3 late in the third.
“You have nothing to lose, and you might as well throw everything in there,” said Thomas. “That was our mentality.”
The return offset a hat-trick from Nathan McKinnon, who looked like he might have just turned around in a highlight moment with goal No. 3. He shot the ball over goalkeeper Phil Hossou to lead 4-3. This was his second career hat-trick after the season ended.
The hats hit the ice.
“It doesn’t matter,” McKinnon said of his achievement. “I’m looking forward to winning.”
Thomas paired it with Hoso on the bench for an extra skater, paving the way for Buzak, who played college road hockey at the University of Denver.
To think, he didn’t play much throughout the third period, with the Blues putting up only three lines. When he got his chance at the OT, he made the most of it.
“There’s definitely no such thing as a bad shot,” Bosak said. “So I just tried to get past the traffic and got in. So that’s great.”
Game six on Friday in St. Louis.
The Blues recovered from a 3-1 deficit to play two-time playoffs in their history – 1999 against Phoenix and 1991 against Detroit.
They are looking forward to writing another chapter.
“This team has come from behind a little bit this year in games so they don’t give up,” said Blues coach Craig Behrop.
Captain Gabriel Landskog also scored and Bowen Byram made two passes in the avalanche, who was on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference final for the first time since 2002.
Instead, they have to wait — and wonder. The second round proved to be a huge obstacle to the avalanche. They have been eliminated at this point in each of the last three seasons.
“It downps for three minutes and moves on. It’s a hockey match,” Landeskog said. It’s not supposed to be easy.”
Hsu saved 30 times for St. Louis. He took charge in Game 3 when Jordan Bennington was injured after a collision between Nazim Qadri and Blues defender Callie Rosen causing Qadri to crash into Bennington.
After that, Qadri received racist death threats on social media, which increased security to protect him. Response in game 4 with triples. On Wednesday, fans along the plaques raised banners that read “Stand up with Nas.”
Kuemper held 25 rounds.
McKinnon came out flying in the first half, taking five shots and scoring two to give Colorado an early 2-0 lead. These were the first two goals of this streak for McKinnon, who scored seven in the post-season.
The fast McKinnon also got an assist to give him 82 career break points. He became the fourth player in franchise history with 80 points or more after the season ended, joining Sakic (188), Peter Forsberg (159) and Peter Stastney (81).
After Landeskog made it 3-0 just 4 minutes into the second half, Tarasenko scored his first goal of the series after 10 and a half minutes to launch the Blues.
“We shone a little bit,” said McKinnon, whose team plays 4-0 on the road in this playoff. “We wanted it so bad, I think… Win third, go to the conference finals, whatever. It’s one term. Our game has to go on, stay aggressive. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Birubi opened his earlier interview with reporters on Wednesday by condemning the racist threats made against Qadri.
Beerup said, “It’s in no way acceptable to St. Louis Blues, or anyone, to go through that. Being a Native American, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been around. That’s not a good thing.”