Wild caught flat-footed in loss to Avalanche

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 20, 2014 - 8:06 AM

– Speed kills, and arguably the fastest skater in the NHL is slaughtering the Wild’s playoff hopes.

One game after Colorado Avalanche teenage star Nathan MacKinnon assisted on three goals in a Game 1 victory, the Wild again had no answer for the NHL’s second-youngest player.

MacKinnon, the NHL’s Calder Trophy shoo-in after being drafted first overall in last June’s draft, scored a goal and added three assists to pace a 10-point night by Colorado’s top line in the Avalanche’s 4-2 Game 2 victory on Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and Paul Stastny, two days after scoring the tying goal and overtime winner in Game 1, scored an empty-net goal and had three assists. MacKinnon, 18, and Stastny each have seven points in the series to help give Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff matchup with the series switching to St. Paul on Monday night.

“Their line has been on fire,” defenseman Ryan Suter said. “We’re skating backwards. You can’t defend on your heels. We’ve been defending on our heels, and it’s just not good enough.”

The Wild, which hasn’t won a playoff series in 11 years, is in danger of losing in the first round for the second consecutive season and fourth time since 2007. The Avalanche was a league-best 26-11-4 on the road this season. Teams that go up 2-0 in a best-of-seven playoff series hold a record of 287-45 (86.4 percent).

“All you can do is win our two games,” forward Zach Parise said. “We’re in a hole now, but we’ve got to win the third one. That’s all we can worry about regardless of what happened here.”

Two minutes after Charlie Coyle silenced a raucous crowd by giving Minnesota an early 1-0 lead, MacKinnon took over.

“He’s growing up faster than anyone could expect,” Landeskog said. “He knows what he’s good at and he knows how to use it. The skills he’s got, the way he skates, I haven’t seen anything like it.”

After Coyle’s goal, the Avs scored three in a row all after MacKinnon jetted uncontested through the neutral zone as if he was shot through a cannon.

“We’ve been able to shut down really good players all year long,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We’re backing up too much. We’re allowing them to build speed.”

The Wild also was careless with pucks, and forwards were taking poor neutral-zone angles. Captain Mikko Koivu was caught flat-footed before Landeskog’s two goals.

“We caused that ourselves,” Koivu said. “It felt like broken plays. They got the puck and we got caught. That’s how it felt.”

After MacKinnon tied the score at 1-1 with his first career playoff goal, Landeskog’s two goals chased Ilya Bryzgalov with 8 minutes, 1 second left in the second. Bryzgalov, who gave up three goals on 14 shots, had no shot to stop the third goal.

MacKinnon flew into the Wild end and wheeled easily around defenseman Jared Spurgeon to create a 3-on-1 down low. Stastny made a behind-the back pass to Landeskog, who buried his third goal of the series.

In came Darcy Kuemper, in uniform for the first time since March 29. Kuemper likely will start Game 3 (Bryzgalov has given up 16 goals in his past four starts).

MacKinnon’s goal, the first of many in his playoff career, beat Bryzgalov blocker side, a proven Bryzgalov weakness since he arrived in Minnesota on March 4. Landeskog’s first of two goals, which came off MacKinnon’s drop pass, was a snipe over Bryzgalov’s glove that arguably should have been stopped.

“Minnesota is not the only team that has struggled to control MacKinnon,” Avs coach Patrick Roy said. “He’s caused problems for many teams this year.”

Yeo flipped struggling Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin on the first and second pairs. In the second period, Nino Niederreiter and Matt Moulson switched lines. In the third, Yeo reunited the Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line and a put together a Moulson-Koivu-Coyle line.

Yeo can do all the line switching he wants. If the Wild doesn’t figure out a way to clean up the neutral zone and shut down the Landeskog-MacKinnon-Stastny line, this series will be over before he knows it.

“You’ve got to get the next one. That has to be the mind- set,” Suter said. “You can’t get frustrated. We’ll be better.”







 

  • related content

  • Video: Wild Minute: Wild in deep trouble

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    After a 4-2 loss at Colorado, the wild returns to Minnesota down 2-0 in its playoff series

  • Postgame: Wild returns to St. Paul reeling

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    The Avs' top line recorded 10 points in Saturday's 4-2 win

  • BOXSCORE: Colorado 4, Wild 2

    Saturday April 19, 2014

  • Photo gallery: Game 2: Colorado 4, Wild 2

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    Game 2 of NHL Stanley Cup playoffs action between the Wild and Colorado in Denver.

  • Scoggins: Wild is forced to restart its goalie-go-round

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    The season-long goalie carousel continued to spin Saturday night as Ilya Bryzgalov got yanked in the second period of Game 2 after being torched for three goals

  • Wild notes: Yeo wants Granlund, Brodin to protect themselves better

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    DENVER – In Thursday’s Game 1, the Colorado Avalanche tried to set a physical tone, especially against the Wild’s more...

  • Avs' veteran Talbot says playoff experience helps but not a necesssity

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    Maxime Talbot scored both goals when the Penguins won Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.

  • Game 2 recap: Colorado 4, Wild 2

    Sunday April 20, 2014

    Game 2 recapStar Tribune’s three stars1. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche: The 18-year-old followed a three-assist game Thursday with a goal and...

  • Colorado players celebrated after a goal by Nathan MacKinnon in the first period.

  • Gabriel Landeskog shot the puck past Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to give Colorado a 3-1 lead in the second period. Landeskog scored twice as the Avalanche won 4-2 for a 2-0 series lead.

  • The Wild’s Charlie Coyle scored past Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov as Jan Hejda tried to defend during the first period Saturday.

  • Wild forward Zach Parise, right, tried to slow Gabriel Landeskog, but the Avalanche captain scored two second-period goals.

  • Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov could only watch after being pulled in the second period. Bryzgalov gave up three goals on 14 shots.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close