Wild dominates again to even series with Avs

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2014 - 12:27 PM

That’s why Wild coach Mike Yeo threw Game 3’s hero onto the ice with a minute left Thursday night with the Wild frantically trying to kill off a 6-on-4 Colorado Avalanche power play.

Granlund, who already had assisted on a goal, drawn three penalties and won 67 percent of his faceoffs in Game 4, capped everything by throwing his body into three Erik Johnson bullets. The last of Granlund’s gutsy blocked shots came with four seconds left and helped the Wild pull off a 2-1 victory to send the Western Conference quarterfinals back to Denver knotted at two games apiece.

“You try to do all you can for the win,” said Granlund, who blocked one of the three shots without his stick. “Every guy in this locker room would do that. It’s all about desperation.”

In dominant fashion, the Wild responded to the Avalanche winning Games 1 and 2 at home by pulling off a home sweep of its own.

“It’s kind of like tennis to hold your serve here,” said center Erik Haula, a key reason the Wild went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and held young star Nathan MacKinnon to no shots. “We were able to do that, and now hopefully we get a chance to break theirs.”

With the series suddenly a best-of-three with Game 5 and potentially Game 7 in Denver, Zach Parise said, “One way or another, if we want to win this series, we’ve got to win a road game.”

For the second consecutive game at an electric Xcel Energy Center, the Wild tilted the ice for nearly 60 minutes Semyon Varlamov’s way. For the second consecutive game, Varlamov — and Varlamov alone — prevented the Avalanche from being routed.

In the third period, Wild fans, the 19,396 who had been ‘‘oohing’’ and “ahhing’’ all game, tried to help the Wild by chanting, “Sieve, Sieve, Sieve,” at Varlamov.

One night after firing 46 shots at Varlamov in a 1-0 overtime victory, the Wild outshot the Avalanche 32-12. The 12 shots against set a Wild playoff record.

“You don’t see that too often,” forward Jason Pominville said. “It was a complete team effort. Guys were paying a price.”

Nobody bigger than Granlund, who exhilarated fans three nights earlier with his scintillating overtime winner. After Haula, Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon killed off the first minute of Jonas Brodin’s minor, Granlund, Parise, Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser came out for the final minute.

At one point Granlund, who refused to flee shooting lanes, lost his stick.

“You just want to throw him one,” said Suter, who stressfully watched from the bench. “That was impressive. That spoke to the way he played all game, the way all our guys played all night.”

When that final horn blared, the euphoric fans erupted.

“We’ve had some exciting games since I’ve been here in this building, but I’ve never heard anything like that tonight,” Yeo said of the crowd.

In the two games in Minnesota, the Wild outshot the Avalanche 78-34. When Ryan O’Reilly scored Colorado’s lone goal with 6:35 left in the second, it was the Avs’ seventh shot of the game. They didn’t get another for the next 14 minutes.

The Wild got goals from Spurgeon and Charlie Coyle, and Darcy Kuemper had to make only 11  saves for his second consecutive victory.

The first period looked like a 20-minute power play. Just like Monday’s Game 3, the Wild was first to every puck, won every battle and forced turnover after turnover. Monday, the Wild took a franchise-record 22 shots in the opening 20 minutes. This time, the first-period shot count was 14-3.

The big difference this time is the Wild’s persistent pressure earned a 1-0 lead 3:47 in — rather than 65:08 in — on Spurgeon’s first career playoff goal. Coyle’s third goal of the series was his first career playoff power-play goal and winning goal.

“We did what we wanted to do,” Parise said. “After two pretty disappointing games in Denver, you want to come back and protect your own home ice. Now we’ve got to win on the road.”





 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
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 of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close