Wild beat Avs 3-1, clinch playoff spot

Dustin Bradford

Long time Avalanche fan favorite Milan Hejduk played what felt like his last game tonight as the Minnesota Wild secured the final playoff spot in the West.

The Minnesota Wild came into Pepsi Center tonight with their playoff hopes on the line against your basement dwelling Colorado Avalanche. The Wild held their destiny in their own hands as a win against the Avs would propel them into the post season and they came out playing like a team under that kind of pressure, out-shooting the Avs 9-0 when homegrown Zach Parise scored in close off a rebound 5-hole on Semyon Varlamov.

But the Avalanche answered in a big way, getting their first shot on goal with 9:41 to go in the first! ~sigh~

The Avs oft-abandoned goalie ~double sigh~ would make some of his best saves of the truncated season after a series of defensive breakdowns in the last 6 minutes of the period. At one point he made a diving stick save, knocking the puck away as it was crossing the goalline. With Varly dramatically keeping his team within striking distance, Ryan O`Reilly broke out of the corner and Landeskog hit him with a little pass from below the goal line and O`Reilly wasted no time potting his 6th of his doubly truncated season - Patrick Bordeleau got the 2nd assist - POINTS STREAK Y'ALL!!

Period ends tied 1-1 (with shots an ugly 16-4 in favor on Minny), but not before Spurgeon would twice try to decapitate Milan Hejduk in what is probably #23's final game. Respect your elders dickbag.

About 5 minutes into the 2nd period, Eric Johnson (returning from injury) carried the puck 1-on-5 deep into the Minnesota Zone setting up an offensive flurry and a Chuck Kobasew goal. Unfortunately the refs made the wrong call, calling it "no goal", and that "call" held "up" after a "video review". The puck bounded in off of Kobasew's leg as he charged the net off Stefan Elliot's rebound. There's no way in hell Kobasew even knew where the puck was when it hit his moving leg, but it's better for the NHL if the Wild and their big names are in the post season than the nobody Columbus Blue Jackets, so.....no goal.

Like a good little jinx demon, Mike Haynes commented on how both teams were playing cautiously and no penalties had been called half-way through the game: enter Shane O'Brien! Not one to let a game go unpenalized, O'Brien slashed his way to 2 minutes of introspection and picking girls out of the audience from his favorite vantage point. Devon Setuguchi would make the NHL's best home ice PK pay with a sizzling slap shot from the top of the circle to put the Wild up 2-1.

About 5 minutes into the 3rd period Columbus beat Nashville back east, leapfrogging the Wild for the 8th and final spot in the West. If the Wild could maintain their lead, they'd in turn jump over Columbus in a wild finish to the playoff standings.

The Avs got their first powerplay of the game about midway through the third period and attacked Minnesota with 5 shots, but none made it through.

And if you thought Kobasew's redacted goal sniffed of conspiracy, the refs handed the Wild a 55-second 5-on-3 man advantage with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on PA Parenteau on the bench - apparently for his vocabulary choices. Forget all that nonsense though cuz the Avs shut down the WIld powerplay and killed both penalties.

From there the intensity sky rocketed a desperate Wild fought off the Avalanche barrage. The crowd was as loud as it had been all season. It's like all the Denverites (both fans and players) suddenly remembered how this game can feel. All for naught though as the WIld would net the empty net goal with 2 seconds to go. Wild win 3-1.

MHH Best Three Avs of the Night

  • Milan Hejduk - played like a young Duke in his 1,020th game.
  • Ryan O`Reilly - Goal
  • Semyon Varlamov - mad crazy saves yo

Lines

  • Landeskog - O`Reilly - McLeod
  • McGinn - Stastny - Hejduk
  • Mitchell - Duchene - Parenteau
  • Bordeleau - Malone - Kobasew

  • Zanon - Barrie
  • Hejda - Elliott
  • O'Brien - Johnson

  • Scratches: Hunwick (sick), Palushaj

Quick Hits

  • When the Avs D scores a gaol, the Avs were 5-0 this season. Paging Seth Jones.....

NHL.com Recap & Highlights

NHL.com recap

Game Summary

Event Summary


Next Up

Golf! Or Vegas trips.... (just don't tell Jiggy).

The Draft will be the next big day day of any remote significance / getting hopes up / MHH commenters tossing up imaginary and/or impossibly hopeless line combos for Avs fans.

Stay cool. Have a great summer. ~ MHH

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