By Jeff Richardson – Published on Monday, April 28, 2014 at 10:05 PM
The Avalanche had a chance to put the Wild away with a win in Minnesota tonight, but came up short. Despite the 5-2 victory by The Wild, this game was a lot closer. Both teams finished with 23 shots, and Zach Parise outshines everyone on the ice with 2 goals and 2 assists. Minnesota spoils Matt Duchene‘s return and forces an always highly anticipated game 7.
On the brink of elimination, you have to expect the Minnesota Wild to come out and play with urgency. They did just that. Less than a minute into the game Ryan Suter fired a shot on net. Parise’s stick happened to be in the right place at the right time, and deflected the puck past Semyon Varlamov. The Avalanche found themselves on their heels a little bit because of the early goal, and were making bad passes through the neutral zone. They were pinned in their own zone a few times, and kept icing the puck to try and relieve the pressure. Halfway through the period, Mikael Granlund scored another beautiful goal, like he has been doing all series. I have personally been very impressed with his play. The Avalanche dug themselves in a hole early, and made matters worse with a couple penalties by Paul Stastny and Andre Benoit. Colorado was able to kill the 5 on 3, when Ryan O’Reilly found Stastny fresh out of the penalty box, all alone in the neutral zone. Stastny sped into Minnesota’s end, took his time and beat Darcy Kuemper for a shorthanded goal. The Avalanche were able to survive the first period being down by only a goal.
Much better period for the Avalanche. One of the best periods they’ve had the entire season at Excel Energy Center. The boys had Minnesota sitting on their heels for most of the second, riding on momentum they carried with them from the first period. Nick Holden scored the lone goal by sneaking down low and receiving the puck from O’Reilly right in front of Kuemper. After the goal, both teams leveled out, and traded punches back and forth. Colorado was able to end the period tied, and leading in the shots column, 20-15
The third period was very nerve racking. Both teams were trying to not make a mistake. Shots were going wide, passes were bouncing, and both the Wild and the Avalanche were trying to force plays up high. Minnesota finally found the back of the net when Mikko Koivu shot from near the blue line. Zach Parise tipped the puck, yet again, past Varlamov. The Avs tried really hard after that, and Roy pulled Varly with over 3 minutes left in the period. Minnesota caps this game off with 2 empty net goals by Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to force a game 7.
This series has been kind to the home team, so maybe that is good news for the Avalanche. Game 7 on Wednesday night in Denver. Show up to The Pepsi Center, and be loud!