All year I've tried to knock out game recaps in a timely manner. At minimum, just get a thread up to let the MHH faithful vent, or post disapproving .gifs or whatever. Today, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I had to step away for a while. A beer was in order (or maybe three) and large helping of perspective. My duty here, if nothing else, is to keep an even keel and avoid the hyperbole so prevalent on the internet -- but I'm susceptible to these emotions too. When the culmination of your team's season is as disappointing as this afternoon was, even I wanted to write a thousand caps locked words about marching on the Pepsi Center with pitchforks and torches, but that's just not a rational response. A season never falls on just one game: it's the aggregate result of eighty-two performances. We're seeing the team that most of us predicted before the season -- one that falls just short of the playoffs. Having your expectations met isn't a reason to be mad; it's something different.
We tease Minnesota fans about how old their team is, but in the last two weeks, we're seeing its benefits. This is a veteran club that is simply getting the job done when they need it the most. Devan Dubnyk is perfectly capable of being awful any time he's in the net (see: recent NJ Devils game); but more often than not, he's getting the job done behind a very capable defense. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter? They're being paid a significant portion of Minnesota's salary cap allotment, but they're earning it right now -- with the playoffs just on the horizon. What I feel right now isn't anger anymore, as it was a couple hours ago. It's the sobering feeling of knowing your team got beat by a division opponent that deserved it (well, as sober as one can be following a handful of Firestone Walker Black Rye IPAs).
I'm tired. I'm numb -- and I'm devoid of any meaningful insights or analysis. It's just that point in the season, I suppose.
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After a scoreless 1st Period in which the Avalanche outshot the Wild 11-8, it would be Zach Parise who would get on the board first. After Mikkel Boedker stole the puck at the blue line, he passed it right into the skates of Mikhail Grigorenko, who lost the puck to Parise. Following a cross-ice pass to Mikael Granlund, he got it right back for the easy tap-in to make it 1-0 (Video).
The Wild would add another with just 21 seconds left in the 2nd. Justin Fontaine fired a shot while skating down the right wing, and Jordon Schroeder -- unimpeded by any sort of back check -- tipped the puck through Semyon Varlamov to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead headed into the 3rd (Video).
Parise would strike again just over four minutes into the 3rd Period following a Shawn Matthias hooking penalty. He would catch the puck from inside the right circle and rip a wrister top-shelf past Varlamov's blocker side, effectively putting the game out of reach (Video).
Colorado would go on to employ a variety of aggressive tactics to no avail. They would pull their goalie during a power play opportunity, creating a 6-on-4 situation, but Mikael Granlund would score on an empty net to make the final score 4-0 (Video).
The win put Minnesota up to 85 points in the standings, five now ahead of Colorado for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Colorado has a game in hand but a brutal schedule going forward. They will play next in Nashville on Monday against the Predators.