Let's start here: Monday's Wild game was frustrating, excruciating and then ultimately exhilarating. Right up until the point Mikael Granlund scored his OT beauty, it had the feel of a game that could slip away undeservingly at any moment. All it would take was one fluky bounce for the Wild -- who severely outplayed the Avs -- to bury themselves in a nearly insurmountable 3-0 hole.

Instead, of course, Granlund saved the day. When every other player was either getting unlucky, pressing too much or getting flat-out robbed by goalie Semyon Varlamov, Granlund stayed composed and made a falling down shot look about as easy as possible.

If there was a fear the Wild had already given up after going down 2-0 in the series, it was erased quickly Monday. If there was a doomsday tension building that the Wild would lose despite outplaying Colorado, that fear was quelled eventually.

So the Wild showed us something. They showed us plenty.

Now they must show more. Why?

Well, for a number of reasons, but foremost is this: at the end of the day, they are right back where they were a year ago -- at least results-wise.

A year ago, Minnesota lost Game 1 to Chicago in overtime. Then the Wild was outplayed in a 5-2 loss in Game 2. Pressed up against a wall in Game 3 back at the X, a youngster (Jason Zucker) came through with the game-winning goal in overtime to make the series 2-1.

Chicago then proceeded to breeze through the next two games, taking two victories by a combined 8-1 margin to take the series.

This Colorado team is not last year's Blackhawks team. This Wild team is not last year's Wild team. To foster genuine belief, the Wild must duplicate not only Monday's effort, but also Monday's result in Thursday's Game 4. Get this series knotted up 2-2 going back to Colorado. Right now, the opportunity to make this a real series exists, just as it did last year.

We think the extra off day (which Minnesota didn't have between Games 3 and 4 last year) will help. That was an emotional, rugged game Monday. A day to rest and reflect is huge. When Minnesota hits the ice tomorrow for practice, it should be with the mentality that nothing in this series has really changed -- yet.

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