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Continued: Souhan: Series takes seismic shift after two dominating Wild efforts

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 25, 2014 - 12:24 PM

The Wild dominated the first period of Game 2, before its defenders bought tickets, sat back on their heels and watched MacKinnon do a figure-skating routine.

The Wild dominated almost every aspect of Game 3, although the team’s well-known penchant for wasting scoring opportunities made an overtime necessary.

Proving that Game 3 wasn’t merely a function of desperation and embarrassment, the Wild thoroughly dominated Game 4.

In the past two games, the Wild has outshot Colorado 78-34. Thursday, Minnesota set a playoff record for fewest shots allowed, with 12. Now that Kuemper has replaced Ilya Bryzgalov, the Wild should win this series.

Varlamov was often spectacular again on Thursday. If his agent is smart, he insists that Varlamov be paid on commission.

Varlamov has little choice but to be spectacular, because the Avalanche defense is remarkably weak, and the Wild’s deep set of aggressive forwards has made Colorado struggle to merely clear the puck.

For all of its dominance, the Wild struggles to score. Watching the Wild with the puck is like watching a slugger hit fly ball after fly ball to the warning track. The arc is majestic; the results are negligible.

To summarize: The Wild dominated most of Game 1, some of Game 2, all of Game 3 and all of Game 4. Its reward is a 2-2 tie with the series heading back to Colorado on Saturday.

By now, the Wild has to believe it is the better team, and that its superior depth will win out if it can only find a way to deflect in the occasional goal past the always-sprawling Varlamov.

After Game 2, it looked as if MacKinnon would be the irrepressible youngster who would make this series his own.

Thursday night, after Game 4, it was Granlund who looked like the most complete, and gutsy, youngster on the suddenly tilted ice.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 6 FINAL
Detroit - WP: K. Lobstein 8
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: A. DeSclafani 2
Washington - LP: G. Gonzalez 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: D. Haren 6
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 5
Atlanta - LP: T. Cahill 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 5
Boston - LP: W. Miley 7 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 18
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Blazek 6
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Robertson 3
Kansas City 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 5
Texas 2 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 0
Houston 5 Top 4th Inning
Oakland 2
Los Angeles 0 Bottom 4th Inning
San Diego 1
Pittsburgh 2 Bottom 3rd Inning
Arizona 0
San Francisco 0 Postponed
Colorado 0
Minnesota 2 Bottom 4th Inning
Seattle 0
NY Mets - J. Niese 7:05 PM
NY Yankees - N. Eovaldi
Cleveland 101 FINAL
Boston 93
LA Clippers 69 3rd Qtr 3:45
San Antonio 68
Toronto 5:30 PM
Washington
Houston 8:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 1 3rd Prd 18:59
Minnesota 3
Montreal 5:00 PM
Ottawa
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 44:55
Red Bull New York 0
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Orlando City
Portland 8:30 PM
Seattle
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