Avalanche vs. Blues Game 6: Avs advance to Western Conference finals on Darren Helm’s last-second goal

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The Colorado Avalanche have advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 20 years after veteran center Darren Helm scored a crowd-deafening goal with just 5.6 seconds left in regulation, eliminating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs’ second-round series. 

Helm’s slap shot from the circle made it through a sea of players before hitting the back of the net with just seconds left in the third period to clinch the series with a 3-2 victory and an unfamiliar place in the conference finals. 

Darcy Kuemper (35) of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated after defeating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Enterprise Center May 23, 2022, in St. Louis, Mo. 

Darcy Kuemper (35) of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated after defeating the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Enterprise Center May 23, 2022, in St. Louis, Mo. 
(Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

“We had three guys going hard to the net,” Helm said of the game-winner. “I was just kind of trailing. The pass bounced off the side wall. I just wanted to get the puck on the net, and it found its way.”

“There’s no other guy that deserves it as much as he does,” Colorado forward Gabriel Landeskog added. “You talk about his work ethic, but he’s the guy that comes to the rink with a smile on his face, gets along with everybody.”

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It was a gritty performance by both teams, but Blues goaltender Ville Husso was kept busy by the Avs, making 36 stops on 39 shots. J.T. Compher scored twice while Darcy Kuemper made 18 saves for Colorado. 

Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) slides into the net, upending St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso (35) in the third period during Game 6 of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at the Enterprise Center May 27, 2022. 

Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) slides into the net, upending St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso (35) in the third period during Game 6 of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at the Enterprise Center May 27, 2022. 
(Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Justin Faulk and Jordan Kyrpu scored for the Blues. 

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“Obviously, the game — we had a chance to take it,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said after the game. “I thought [Husso] gave us a chance, he made some huge stops, gave us a chance all game. I thought we started a little slow, which hurt us. That was kind of the feeling that we had all series at home. We didn’t play the way we needed to here, which made it difficult to win. Lost every game at home here … just very disappointing.”

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From left to right, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6), center Darren Helm (43), right wing Logan O'Connor (25) and left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) celebrate Helm's game-winning goal against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of Game 6 of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at The Enterprise Center May 27, 2022.

From left to right, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6), center Darren Helm (43), right wing Logan O’Connor (25) and left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) celebrate Helm’s game-winning goal against the St. Louis Blues in the third period of Game 6 of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs at The Enterprise Center May 27, 2022.
(Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Colorado will now face the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday. The Avs advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2002. The Avalanche had been eliminated in the second round each of the past three years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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