It almost didn't work.
Patrick Roy pulled his goalie, Semyon Varlamov with 3:01 to play and his team down 4-3 in game one of their Western Conference playoff series against the Minnesota Wild. Afterwards Roy said he almost pulled Varly with four minutes left on the clock. Either way, the move paid off. Paul Stastny scored the game tying goal with 13 seconds left in the 3rd period and also netted the game winning goal in overtime.
But he almost never had the chance.
With under two-minutes left in regulation Minnesota's Erik Haula cleared the puck out of the Wild zone. The backhander was headed right towards the Avs empty net before Johnson swept if off the goal line with 1:32 to play. In doing so, Johnson knocked the net off which stopped play.
It was a game saving play by the defenseman who actually grew up in Minnesota. But one that Wild head coach Mike Yeo was a bit perplexed about.
"We had an opportunity to score a goal if he doesn't knock the net off," said Yeo. "We got called for a penalty earlier in the game for something sort of similar. And then I'm not sure why the faceoff comes outside (the zone), I didn't get an explanation, I'm not sure."
Yeo does have a case that Minnesota would have had a shot on net had in not been knocked off. But Johnson clearly made a play at the puck before colliding with the goal.
"I didn't think (the puck) was going to get there and then it landed and picked up speed," said Johnson. "Then I didn't think I was going to get there. It slowed down a bit at the end and I was able to knock it out of the way and inadvertently knocked the net off which turned out to be pretty good," he added with a smile.
Johnson kept the game alive. Stastny took care of the rest.
"You're talking in the playoffs to get some momentum, I think this win should give some momentum to our team," said Roy.