Two games against the Avalanche, two excellent efforts, seven goals and four points. This was exactly the kind of week the Wild needed to try to break out of their funk. Hopefully they can build on this, and Andrew Ebbett and Guillaume Latendresse continue to fit in as well as they have in the first week.
While it didn't always look this way on the scoreboard, the Wild controlled this game. Colorado got sloppy once they had the lead and Minnesota took advantage of the miscues and poorly times penalties, worked their way back into it, and never relinquished control, carrying it through to the shootout, where Mikko Koivu and Andrew Ebbett sealed the deal.
The Wild came out hot, with 12 shots in the first and 14 in the second. Were it not for the outstanding goaltending of Craig Anderson, the Avs could've easily found themselves on the wrong end of a bloodbath. Lucky for them, Matt Hendricks and Matt Duchene took advantage of two nice scoring chances (basically the only two chances in the first for the Avs) and got the Avs up 2-0 against the run of play. After that second goal, the Wild kept up the pressure and you could feel that it was only a matter of time until they took over on the scoreboard as well.
The scoring was started early in the second as Eric Belanger came flying in on a two on one, and rocketed one past Anderson. Nice to see Belly score, because he hadn't done so all month. After that goal, the Wild kept flying and kept the pressure on, but Anderson kept turning away everything the Wild could throw at him.
Each team had a goal disallowed for being played with a high stick. Duchene in the first and Guillaume Latendresse in the third. Lucky for the Wild, Latendresse is learning from his past in Montreal and parking himself in front of the net to get the rebounds, the way a power forward should. After a shot from Owen Nolan goes off Anderson, Latendresse is right there to bury it and get his first goal as a member of the Minnesota Wild.
Neither team would get another opportunity in regulation, and in overtime, disaster was averted as a puck trickled just wide of the cage as Josh Harding mussed it with his glove and it slid through the crease. This would send both teams to the shootout where Mikko Koivu would use his patented backhand roofer, then Andrew Ebbett scored the winner as Marek Svatos and Wojtek Wolski were stopped by Harding.
Please read the game recap over at Mile High Hockey
Hockey Wilderness Three
Questions to Answer
- Will Kobasew find the first line to his liking again? He didn't score, but did get three shots and at least two nice scoring chances tonight. I think he fits well on that line.
- Will Josh Harding perform well, spelling Backstrom? Harding was very solid today. Definitely earned his first win of the season.
- Does Latendresse show signs of fatigue with all his travel the last few days? If he was feeling it, he certainly wasn't showing it. Nice goal to tie it up.
- Is Adrian Dater the biggest ass in NHL media? Always. Luckily he talks trash about the Avs as well as anyone they play.
- Will we see some bitterness due to the home and home? Will this game get ugly? Well, it got ugly really early on as David Koci tried to spark the Avs by tangling with John Scott. Not a great decision by Koci, as he couldn't match the reach of Scott, and it was a series of grabs and punches that didn't really land.