It had that feeling, didn't it? In a few fleeting seconds, the Wild went from having a chance to blow Game 6 open -- up 2-0, on a 5-on-3 power play -- to giving up what looked to be a devastating short-handed goal.
It had that classic Minnesota gut-punch feeling. Head coach Mike Yeo even said he could sense it, that his players were starting to show fear -- not of the Avs, but of the momentum they had lost.
Minnesota puttered and sputtered through the second period, yielding the tying goal but no more. In the third, the Wild clearly needed a hero to pull it out of its rut. While some on Twitter would identify this hero as Alyssa Nelson, aka @SnowflakeNelson, aka the woman in pink (more on her later), really there is a clearer explanation: three men being paid very handsomely to play hockey at a high level played hockey at a high level.
Mikko Koivu battled to keep a puck in the zone. Ryan Suter pinched in just enough to keep the play alive. Koivu retrieved the puck and put a shot on net. And from there, Zach Parise's redirection gave the Wild a 3-2 lead on the way to an eventual 5-2 victory that defied the laws of Minnesota sports physics.
Good things don't usually happen to Minnesota teams when they squander chances. But the Wild, as it has done all season, persevered. The squad even managed not one, but two empty-netters to seal the deal.
Now we will be treated to one of the best things in sports: A Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The home team has won all six games in this series, and yet we feel like this one is a coin flip. The Wild has been within a whisper twice in Denver. Players and coaches believe they can seal the deal. That said, the Avs are skilled and can turn momentum in a blink. It will be fun. Win or lose, it will be fun.
Now, back briefly to the woman in pink, who was caught on camera toward the end of the second period clutching a Bud Light Lime, banging on the glass and imploring Charlie Coyle to engage in fisticuffs with an Avs player (though not exactly in those words).
She appeared to be losing her mind, much to the delight of many folks on Twitter -- who turned the moment into a rallying point for the Wild. Ms. Snowflake has gained more than 200 followers as of this writing. We cannot vouch for the influence she had on the game, but we do know that the Wild has outscored Colorado 3-0 since she became an Internet sensation.
She was the hero Wild fans wanted. Parise was the hero they needed. And on to Game 7 we go ...