After a long awaited wait the Colorado Avalanche took to the ice for their first game in 287 days. The team started out strong, crashed in the second, and attempted to get the team together in the third. Unfortunately, the special teams were not good enough. The Avalanche spent 19 minutes on the penalty kill - nearly two minutes of this was on a 5-on-3.
After Minnesota introduces their new and improved team, the first few minutes are spent in the Avalanche defensive zone. However, even when they were in their own zone, they didn't give up. They continued to put pressure on the Wild and it pays off. At the 2:07 mark, Mitchell scores his first goal in Avalanche gear. Hejduk,from the corner, had passed the puck to Downie who was in front of the net and Mitchell buries it.
The Avalanche continue to put pressure on the Wild. A few moments later McLeod gets in his first fight of the season. He took on Zenon Konopka . In what was more of a grappling match than fight, Konopka gets McLeod against the boards and gets a few extra punches in before the refs break up the fight. The Wild get an extra two minute penalty for interference on McLeod. On the power play the Avalanche were able to put pressure on the Wild, Duchene had an open net and misses, McGinn had a good wrap around chance and wasn't able to put it in. McGinn continued to be hungry, but the power play ends before the Avalanche can capitalize on the power play. The Avalanche continue to put pressure on the Wild.
Halfway through the first period, Sutter goes off for tripping and the Avs missed another open net - this time it was Jones. McGinn hit the post and Stastny's chance goes flying over the net. Once again, the Avalanche are unable to net a goal on the power play. McGinn is throwing his body around and playing a great physical game up until now. The Avalanche are playing great on the forecheck. They set the pace for the first period. The final tally of the first period was 12 shots on goal for Colorado vs Minnesota's 5.
Two minutes into the second and Steve Downie heads to the Sin Bin... his first penalty of the game. This was the game changer. It's all Minnesota after that in the second. Heatly puts it behind Semyon. Less than a minute later Granlund scores for Minnesota giving them the lead. Then a scary moment: Erik Johnson lost his footing and went crashing into the boards. He was down for a few minutes before being able to get up on his own accord, although the trainers hands were guiding him. Credit to Minnesota: they cheered when Johnson got up. The Avalanche would lose Erik for the mandatory 15 minute "quiet room" break.
Downie then cross-checks Spurgeron and then gives him another hit resulting in a four minute penalty. Just over two minutes into the penalty, Ryan O`Byrne gets a two minute penalty for holding the stick. Minnesota didn't need the whole two minutes to take advantage of the situation. The Avs were down 3-1.
As soon as Erik Johnson steps back on the ice, things calm down slightly. Clutterbuck goes to the box, but the Avs are unable to do anything with it. Unless you count giving Bouchard a breakaway. Varlamov was equal to the task. Jan Hejda gets called for a 4 minute penalty for high-sticking Konopka.During the second Minnesota had 18 shots.
In the third, the Avalanche were able to kill off the remainder of the Hejda penalty. McLeod decided to take matters into his own hands - no, not by getting in another fight - he does a nice little move and scores his first goal of the season. this seems to give the rest of the team a little life, however, in the end it simply wasn't enough. With just over three minutes left in the third Downie had a chance, but hit the post. Minnesota took it to the Avalanche defending zone and Bouchard was able to get it behind Semyon that time. The Minnesota Wild beat the Avalanche 4 to 2.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stick Taps of the Night
- Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - P.A. Parenteau
- Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones
- Steve Downie - John Mitchell - Milan Hejduk
- Patrick Bordeleau - Mark Olver - Cody McLeod
- Shane O`Brien, Matt Hunwick and Chuck Kobasew were the healthy scratches
- Avalanche special teams: 0/3 on the power play, 2/7 on the penalty kill
- Mitchell had 1 goal, 2 blocks, 5 hits and 1 takeaway
The defending Stanley Cup Champions visit the Colorado Avalanche for the Avs home opener on Tuesday.