Tonight the good guys visit the Minnesota Wild. The Wild are red hot behind a resurgent Devan Dubnyk and the Avs are playing pretty well too. Well enough to finally get a win in St. Paul? We'll see. I'm not going to bring up the story that's causing a bit of controversy. Just serves him and his agenda.
Joey Hishon looks like he's going to get ice time. Please just put him out there for the rest of the season and see what you got. Dubynk and Seymon Varlamov are in net. Let's play hockey!
Shame there wasn't a prop bet on this. Forty-three seconds into the game Cody McLeod and Chris Stewart battle it out until they are winded. Fair play to the refs for letting it go as long as it did.
Very uneventful opening stages, Wild cycle and Avs clear, rinse and repeat. A turnover from behind the net creastes a chance for Minnesota, but the shot misses. Parise and Iginla say hello to one another. At the first TV timeout (13:15), there is just one shot between the two teams.
Wild Minnesota turns up the heat after the timeout and gets a few shots on goal, including one on play where Parise robbed the puck off a Avalanche player trying to exit the zone. 11 minutes into the game and the Avalanche don't have a shot on goal. Ugh.
Gabriel Landeskog is in the groove. Cool.
Tyson Barrie creates the first chance of the game for the Avs all by himself with about 7:30 left in the period, dodging several defenders and narrowly missing Jarome Iginla on a cross-ice pass.
Yikes, Varly almost hands the Wild a goal with a miscue on a clear from behind the net. During the sequence Landeskog takes a minor penalty for high sticking, giving the Wild the first power play of the game with 7:44 left in the period.
Avs kill off the penalty and even get a pair of shots off! Only took 13-and-a-half minutes.
The game evens out a bit and the Avs finally get a little traction and it results in a goal! McLeod (LOL) tips in a rebound in front and Colorado leads. 1-0 with 1:55 left in the period.
Taking the low road., Haynes goes "How do you like that Wild fans" after the goal. Grow up, just because the other team acts a certain way you don't have to. They have a way better team right now.
With 16 seconds left in the period, Haula takes a penalty, giving the Avs about 1:44 of power play time to start the second. 1-0 Avs after the period, shots are 11-5 Wild. Only 2:19 of ice time for J-Hish.
The Avs hold the zone for most of the power play, but their shots are from poor angles and the Wild kill it off.
Uh oh. Varly suffers a strange injury on a save (looks like the puck might have caught him in the upper chest) and the Minnesota crowd goes wild (oops). Oh dear. He stays in the game though.
Hishon! The 23-year-old shows his speed and does a nice job of getting a shot off and keeping the puck in the zone.
Avs are playing really well at the moment, and get rewarded with another power play chance with 14:10 left in the period when Granlund is called for tripping.
And just like that the penalty is over without a shot or whistle. Hishon does get a backhanded shot off a turnover. Still 1-0 halfway through the game.
Parise makes an unreal play to create a chance (I think for Granlund), and Varly makes an excellent glove save to keep the lead. Holy moly Parise is such a good player.
Things quiet down some, Minnesota applies some pressure but nothing overwhelming. Avs are doing well in their own zone this period. With about three minutes left, Matt Duchene gets a wrist shot from the slot but Dubnyk makes a comfortable save.
Landeskog brings the puck up the ice from his own zone, and Zach Redmond blasts a shot from the point that sneaks inside the post and in for a GOAL!. 2-0 late in the second. Wow that was out of nothing – a little surprised Dubynk got beat with no traffic but that was a laser.
Avs get another great chance with 40 seconds left in the period, but Dubnyk is there this time. Suter takes a slashing penalty and the Avs will have another power play bridging periods. 2-0 after two, that was a great second period for the good guys. Shots are now 18-12 Wild.
This time the Avs do cash in on their power play to begin the period! The puck is just thrown on net stays there forever and Landeskog eventually bangs it in for the 3-0 lead 1:19 into the period.
Wild have most of the possession for the next few minutes but can't do a whole lot with it.
Game really slowing down, whistles abound. A fan in the crowd has a "Got Cup? Go Wild" sign. Well you don't anyway.
Everberg takes an interference penalty with 8:40 left, giving Minnesota a chance to get back into the game. Parise almost gets a goal during the power play but the puck stays under Varly's body. Jason Pominville gets a shot off from a good area and Varly makes the stop.
The Wild gets an LOL goal to break up the shutout. Stewart shoots the puck intentionally wide, and the puck bounces off the boards, off Barrie's skate and into the net. 3-1 with 5:56 left. Just wow. I'm sure (journalist) thinks that was all skill. That's Stewart's first goal for the Wild.
Varly is removed from the game as a result of the shot he took earlier, and Reto Berra is now in. Can he finish it off?
The goal definitely woke up the hosts, and the Avs are pretty much Berra playing prevent defense at this point. Mikko Koivu tips a shot from the point off (and then behind) , but Barrie clears it from danger.
The Wild get a consolation goal with 18 seconds left as Vanek cleans up the garbage in front of the net. That's the final action though as the Avalanche come away with a 3-2 win. Shots finish 34-21 Wild.
Third star: Roy's facial hair: It is getting borderline out of control. He's much more handsome without it.
Second star: Zach Redmond: Goal, assist, awesomeness.
First star: Gabriel Landeskog: Captain's performance for me, all three zones. On some roll personally as well. Hopefully this is the start of something good.
Thoughts: Well that obviously felt good. The team played well, Minnesota didn't seem completely engaged for some reason and Varly was solid in net for the shutout. It's tough to draw any analysis from a team that's playing out the stretch without its best defender and future superstar forward, but the effort is still certainly there. Coming off a back-to-back and the way the series has gone recently, I fully expected the Wild to steamroll the Avs. That didn't happen at all.
Next up is a three-game homestand, starting Tuesday with the NHL champ Los Angeles Kings.