Wild beat Avs 5-4 in OT in Game 7 to advance

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“It’s not easy to play against a good team,” said Varlamov, who’s a finalist for the Vezina Trophy that’s given to the league’s top goaltender. “They’ve been playing well against us the whole series.”

Bryzgalov took over in net for Kuemper midway through the third. Bryzgalov started the series but was replaced by Kuemper in Game 2.

The veteran Bryzgalov stopped a shot with his left shoulder early in the overtime, paving the way for Niederreiter’s winner. It was his only save in 13:15 of action.

Now, like most of the season, the Wild have a concern at goalie, especially since coach Mike Yeo isn’t sure how badly Kuemper is hurt.

“If only we had any experience dealing with this,” Yeo jokingly said. “We’re fortunate we have good depth at that position.”

Roy’s first season on the bench for the Avalanche ended the same way his Hall of Fame goaltending career did - with a loss to the Wild in Game 7. Roy surrendered the winning overtime goal in 2003.

This one was just as agonizing.

“We had our chance - don’t kid ourselves,” Roy said. “We had our chance and they took advantage of theirs.”

Niederreiter was starting to heat up in Game 6, but couldn’t find the net. That changed on Wednesday.

“He raised the bar,” Yeo said. “Got himself in trouble now, because this is what we expect.”

Niederreiter was only happy to contribute.

“As a little kid, it’s exactly the moment you dream about,” Niederreiter said. “I’m very happy and fortunate that it happened tonight.”

NOTES: Minnesota F Matt Cooke served the fourth game of his seven-game suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Avs D Tyson Barrie. Cooke has appeared in the most Game 7s (seven) of any Wild player. … Yeo said this is the start of a “budding rivalry” between the two Central Division foes. … Wild F Kyle Brodziak had three assists. … Colorado Fs P.A. Parenteau and Matt Duchene each had two assists. This was Duchene’s second game back after missing almost a month with a knee injury.

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