MacKinnon after late Game 5 collapse: 'We wanted it so bad'

Michael Martin / National Hockey League / Getty

The Colorado Avalanche seemed destined to punch their ticket to the Western Conference Final after steamrolling their way to a 3-0 lead midway through Wednesday night's Game 5.

The St. Louis Blues had other ideas. Forward Robert Thomas forced overtime with his second goal of the contest with one minute remaining in regulation, and veteran Tyler Bozak finished the job in the extra frame.

"We got on our heels a little bit. We wanted it so bad," Avalanche star Nathan Mackinnon told reporters following his team's stunning 5-4 defeat on home ice, according to The Athletic's Peter Baugh.

Mackinnon did all he could to put the Avalanche on his back with a hat trick, capping it with a highlight-reel goal that won't soon be forgotten.

"It doesn't matter. We couldn't get a win. I was happier after Game 4," he said, per the Denver Post's Mike Chambers. "We've gotta move on, come back, and win Game 6 on the road. It's a fun opportunity for us.

"Hopefully everything happens for a reason. ... It should make our team a little harder, a little more grittier in these situations. Can't win every series in four and five. They have a great team."

Captain Gabriel Landeskog emphasized the need to have a short memory heading into Game 6.

"It's the same if you win a game. You enjoy it for three minutes and you move on," he said. "Here, it's the same thing, you sulk for three minutes and you move on, it's as simple as that. It's playoff hockey, it's not supposed to be easy."

Bozak, who won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, knows that lesson well.

"It's not over 'til it’s over," he said.

He continued: "Feels great. Just a resilient group of guys, got down, didn't want the season to be over. Fought hard and got some big goals late."

The Avalanche have been eliminated from the second round in each of the last three postseasons. They haven't made the Western Conference Final since 2002.

Game 6 is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. ET. The Avalanche lead the series 3-2.

MacKinnon after late Game 5 collapse: 'We wanted it so bad'
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