Wild Topple Avalanche To Force Deciding Game Seven
The Minnesota Wild forced a deciding game seven in their first round series with the Colorado Avalanche with a 5-2 win at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild certainly got off to a fast start, scoring on an early power play just 49 seconds into the opening period when a Ryan Suter shot deflected off forward Zach Parise's legs and into the back of the net for a 1-0 Minnesota lead. Parise's goal was originally credited to Suter, who settled for the assist.
Minnesota pushed the lead to 2-0 at the 9:35 mark on a Mikael Granlund shot from the right wing that eluded Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov after a nice feed through the slot from Jason Pominville. Parise was credited with an assist for his second point of the game.
Colorado cut the Wild lead in half with a short-handed goal from Paul Stastny at 16:59 of the first period. The Wild had a five-on-three power play for just over a minute before Stastny came out of the penalty box just as Suter fanned on a shot from the blue line. Ryan O'Reilly scooped up the dribbling puck and fed it ahead to the newly-freed Stastny, who beat Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper glove-side to make the score 2-1.
Shots on goal favored the Wild 9-6 in the opening period.
The Avalanche tilted the ice in the second period, outshooting Minnesota 14-6 and tying the game at two with a power play goal from Nick Holden at 4:47. The majority of the second period was spent in the Minnesota zone, and the Wild truly struggled to set up any offense whatsoever, a stark contrast to the opening period.
Parise notched his third point of the night on a goal at the 13:31 mark off of a shot from Mikko Koivu, the eventual game-winner making the score 3-2.
The Wild broke the curse of the empty net when Jason Pominville scored with 1:25 left in the third period for the 4-2 lead, then scored another empty-netter thirty seconds later to seal the win. Minnesota had previously failed to score in over eight minutes of time with no one in Colorado's net entering game six.
The Wild and Avalanche will play game seven of their series Wednesday night at 8:30 (AM 1390, 8 PM pregame).