Minnesota Wild Outlast The Colorado Avalanche, Win 3-1


1. 103. 3. 98. Final

The Minnesota Wild survived a rough, penalty laden game to beat the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild move to 4-0-0 against the Avalanche with a chance to sweep the season series next Sunday.

Good Morning, Minnesota Wild fans. The Wild finished off February, and Colorado’s playoff hopes, with a quality win in Denver. Despite 24 penalty minutes, 7 separate penalty kills, and being shorthanded in almost every fashion possible, the Wild pulled off a 3-1 victory. Frustrations boiled over on the ice all night, leading to two fights, two Avalanche ejections, and some extremely questionable hits. Don’t forget to check out my head-to-head series with the fantastic Ben Remington on whether the Wild should or shouldn’t trade for Jordan Leopold.

First Period:

The Avalanche came out strong, holding the Wild without a shot on goal for the first 8 minutes, although a Marco Scandella penalty in the 5th minute didn’t help matters.

More from Editorials

The game got physical in a hurry. First, Jan Hejda dumped Charlie Coyle right on top of goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Then, Nate Guenin was credited with 2 hits on Thomas Vanek when Vanek was nowhere near the puck in the offensive zone. Guenin’s hits weren’t dirty, but they were late and unnecessary, yet no penalty was called.

Remember how good the 4th line was in the

Nashville game

? Well, they put the Wild on the board first in Colorado, too. After sustaining good zone pressure for about 40 seconds,

Kyle Brodziak


Justin Fontaine

won board battles behind the net and fed


Haula at the extended goal line. Haula put a wrister on net that squeezed through a puck-sized hole between Varlamov’s right leg pad and the goal post to make it

1-0 Wild at 10:18 of the first period.

On the replay, it looks like the puck bounced off of Varlamov’s leg pad, but it’s still a fantastic shot.

Zach Parise had 2 quality chances in tight, but couldn’t get the puck past Varlamov.

The Wild ended the period with consecutive icings, but made it to the locker room with a 1-0 lead. I think the most impressive part about the first period was the Wild’s ability to battle back after being out-possessed in the first 7-8 minutes before evening the shots on goal and shot attempts.

Shots after one period: Minnesota Wild 8, Colorado Avalanche 8

Second Period:

Colorado tied the game early in the second period with a goal that easily should have been disallowed.

Nick Holden

dumped the puck in to the offensive zone for a line change, but the puck bounced off the end glass and hit the back of

Devan Dubnyk’s

leg as he attempted to play it. Dubnyk fell to his knees and trapped the puck under his leg pad in an attempt to stop play.

Maxime Talbot

then ran in to Dubnyk, forcing the puck across the line while still under Dubnyk’s leg. After a lengthy video review, it was declared a good goal despite being waved off initially, making it a

1-1 tie at 01:32 of the second period.

Here’s my problem with the goal, and I’ll attach the video, but

Cody McLeod

clearly interfered with Dubnyk and forced him in to the net. That shouldn’t be a goal.

Anyway, that goal ended the Wild’s shutout streak of the Avalanche at 201:32 seconds. In the words of our editor, “seems like a pretty weak way to score your first goal in 11 periods.” Pretty weak indeed.

Colorado went back to the power play in the 3rd minute, but the Wild killed it off handily before getting their own chance with the man advantage in the 6th minute. The Wild managed exactly ZERO shots on goal. It was easily one of its worst power play attempts in months.

Just as the power play expired, the 4th line struck again. Erik Haula took a mile long outlet pass as he stepped on to the ice and created a 2-on-1 with Justin Fontaine. Haula waited for Hejda to bite on his shot attempt before feeding Fontaine, who put home his 8th of the year to make it

2-1 Wild at 09:09 of the second period.

There’s a few thing I like about this play. First, the Wild didn’t give up. Second, Haula made the right choice and opted for a pass rather than trying to jam a puck past Hejda and Varlamov. Lastly, they scored.

From there, the second period was a penalty fest. 4 separate penalties were issued in just over 2 minutes. Three of those went to the Wild meaning they got a chance to play shorthanded, 4-on-4, 4-on-3, and 5-on-3 in that time. The Wild killed off each penalty and situation to keep the game in hand with some fantastic saves by Dubnyk. Mikko Koivu also had a breakaway chance as his penalty, the first of the sequence, expired. Koivu’s patented backhander just missed the net, but had Varlamov fooled.

Scandella, who has been really good on the penalty kill, was mysteriously missing through the back half of the second period. I can’t figure out when he got injured, but I also didn’t see him take any big hits. Head coach Mike Yeo didn’t have an update after the game, either.

The Wild earned its second power play of the night in the 17th minute. They attempted 3 shots, but none of them made it on goal. The Wild’s zone entry was also absolutely horrendous. You can’t just dump the puck in on the power play, even against one of the worst possession teams in the NHL.

Shots after two periods: Minnesota Wild 19, Colorado Avalanche 18

Third Period:

Just a couple of minutes in to the third, Tyson Barrie caught Nate Prosser with an elbow to the head right in front of the referee. There was no call on the play and there absolutely should have been. It might get reviewed by the league later on, but that’s besides the point. Brodziak and Guenin broke through the scrum after Barrie’s hit and both took 5-minute majors for fighting.

Just after Brodziak went to the box,

Jason Pominville

sealed the game for the Wild.

Mikael Granlund

picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone and sent a headman pass to Pominville at the center red line. Pominville skated faster than I’ve seen him skate in a long time to get past Holden for a breakaway. Pominville came down the right-wing wall, skated in to the face-off circle, faked a couple of times, and blasted a slap shot over the glove of Varlamov to make it

3-1 Wild at 05:50 of the third period.

Pominville’s goal broke an 8-game drought in beautiful fashion. It’s also nice to talk about that line scoring again. It’s been a while.

The Wild and Avalanche each had power play chances before Varlamov went to the bench with 4 minutes left. FOUR MINUTES LEFT! Sorry, I’m better now. Kyle Brodziak looked to plant home an empty netter at 19:44, but the puck was played with a high stick, so the goal was disallowed. Oh well.

Let’s get to the final 3 seconds, shall we? With 7 second left, The Wild sent out the Granlund line. In response, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy sent out John Mitchell, Alex Tanguay, and McLeod. McLeod doesn’t play on the Mitchell line, though. After Granlund won the neutral zone face-off, McLeod runs right in to Granlund with no regard for what playing time is left. Charlie Coyle steps in to defend Granlund, which McLeod takes as an invitation to fight. McLeod wins the fight, which is unsurprising considering Coyle never even removed his gloves.

Live Feed

NY Islanders: Is this the week we learn if Zach Parise is retiring?
NY Islanders: Is this the week we learn if Zach Parise is retiring? /

Eyes On Isles

  • 2023 Central Division Preview Series: Minnesota WildBlackout Dallas
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • How Tough Will The Central Division Be For The Hawks?Blackhawk Up
  • Minnesota Wild: Goalie Controversy With Gustavsson and Fleury?Puck Prose
  • NY Islanders teammates letting Zach Parise do his thing as team awaits his decisionEyes On Isles
  • So, McLeod should draw an instigator penalty, meaning an automatic one game suspension because it came in the final five minutes of regulation. It would also mean a fine to Patrick Roy. Instead of the instigator penalty, McLeod received 2-5-10, including a fighting major, a game misconduct, and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Avalanche avoid a fine and a suspension for now.

    In the meantime, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog reached across the bench to punch Mikko Koivu in the face, also drawing a game misconduct penalty. I’ll talk more on that later, because it doesn’t matter. Game over, Wild win 3-1 in regulation.

    Final Shots on Goal: Minnesota Wild 32, Colorado Avalanche 34

    Trembley’s Take:

    First of all, the Wild’s playoff chances moved all the way up to 80.8% thanks to the win while Colorado’s chances dropped to 2.8% according to our friends at sportsclubstats.com. That’s good news.

    There’s no update on Marco Scandella as of 0800 Central time. That’s bad news. Hopefully he’s alright, because Jared Spurgeon hasn’t started skating yet and if all 6 defensemen are healthy, there’s no reason to trade before Monday’s trade deadline.

    If you’ve read my game recaps before, you’ll know I’m not a fan of fighting in hockey. I don’t generally find it necessary or even beneficial to the game. It’s just not my thing, although there are certainly situations where it seems merited at the time. The ending of last night’s tilt was not the time or place for Colorado to pick a fight. It’s classless. McLeod shouldn’t have been put on the ice and he was put out for one purpose. There was a lively discussion on our twitter page about the merits of Coyle stepping in to “protect” Granlund. By committing to the fight with McLeod, Coyle let the Avalanche win. The game was over and done with, right? Fighting and sticking up for a fellow player are not synonymous, nor should they be.  The Wild won the game, took the two points, and should move forward to the playoffs. There’s nothing else to that, and the final three seconds put pockmarks on a really good game. I hope the NHL looks in to the events. If they don’t, I’ll leave you with Zach Parise’s zinger of a post-game quote.

    Thanks for reading, I’ll talk to you Tuesday, when the Ottawa Senators come to St. Paul for a 7:00 game.