Important two points on the line for both teams tonight. You'd think that would give the game an edge, make it super exciting. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.
The Wild got some solid chances in just over three minutes after the opening puck drop, but Semyon Varlamov rocked the pad stack to deny multiple attempts. Shortly thereafter, recently recalled Stefan Elliott got caught a step behind the Wild forward and was called for holding. Too bad he wasn't wearing Nate Guenin's jersey, as that play was something #5 does all the time with impunity. Another thing he does all the time is shoot pucks right onto the stick of an opposing player. This penalty kill was not without that classic play, but fortunately, Varlamov continued to be his Vezina-finalist self to keep the Wild off the board.
The Avs' best chance came at about the 10-minute mark when Devan Dubnyk nearly kicked the puck into his own net. Sadly, it didn't count as a shot on net, keeping the shot count 12 to 1 in favor of Minny. Needless to say, the period was all Wild, and there's no hyperbole in that statement. Buzz buzz buzz, a blur of elves, and unsurprisingly it ended in a deflection goal for Minnesota eventually credited to Charlie Coyle.
The Wild kept the pressure up, limiting the Avs' offensive presence, and a breakaway ended with Nick Holden tripping up Jason Zucker, putting the Avs shorthanded once again. Honestly, it looked like it could have been a penalty shot, but the refs called it a minor. Another kill ended without anything for the Wild to show for it, and the Avs rushed up the ice to get their second shot on net. Dubnyk was up to the challenge, even though he was surely as cold as a blue-mountain Coor's Light.
The remainder of the first period was fairly uneventful, enough to do this to fans everywhere:
Stats after one period:
As the Avalanche are wont to do, the team had more jump to start the middle frame, spending much of the first five minutes in the Wild zone. Then Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O'Reilly had Colorado's best shift of the night with solid support coming from Jan Hejda and Zach Redmond at the blueline. Alas, it resulted in only shots on net, no goals.
Oh look. Guenin shot a puck into an opposing player. That never happens.
At 12:05 left in the period, the Avalanche went on its first man advantage of the night when Nino Niederreiter was called for slashing. One guess how powerful that "power" play was. (Seriously, why can't they just decline this shit?)
A bunch of minutes passed (I can't verify that I was lulled into a hypnotic state) and then a bad line change by the Avs gave the Wild a scoring chance. Why the hell can't the Avs keep a forward on the puck while the other players change it up, and then once the new guys get into the zone with support, that guy goes for the change? This shit wouldn't happen if they did that.
The fact this is the best highlight of that period gives you a great idea of how entertaining that period was:
Stats through two periods:
The Wild came on strong, Hejda took a penalty, Avs were on the kill all within a minute of the start of the period. Wild only got two shots on net, but they maintained possession immediately after, still looking like they were a man up on the Avs.
Colorado recovered, and play evened out. And then SQUIRREL. Woah. Six minutes left in the period? WTF?
Okay, Altitudes, I get that you've got all sorts of years under your belt that scream a power play is a good thing, but have you watched a game this season?
Power play over. No goal. Duh.
Roy pulled Varly with 2:01 left in the game, but no miracle was to be had tonight.
Final game stats
My dogs because they kept me awake during this so-called game.
In fact, here's a little something that will leave you with a smile. He was so little!