Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche: Game Recap

Awhhh, what a cute little puck! Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-US PRESSWIRE

Colorado Avalanche 2 - 0 Minnesota Wild

For the enemy perspective, please visit Mile High Hockey

The Wild were playing against a team they have to leapfrog in the standings. The last 4849578 times this happened, they lost, making it that much harder to pass that team. Same story tonight? Well...

Once again, the Wild allowed a quick goal to start the game trailing. Former Shark Jamie McGinn deflected the puck off his skate and touched it with his stick before it slid past Matt Hackett, who got the start tonight. Must be nice when trade deadline acquisitions perform well and contribute on the scoreboard. McGinn scored another one on the powerplay a little later on, with assists going to Peter Mueller and Stefan Elliott, the same two who got the assists on McGinn's first goal. The rest of the period featured a lot of broken plays by both teams, but mostly by Minnesota, as they continue to struggle in keeping the puck in the offensive zone. The only line that looked any good was the Darroll Powe - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi line, particularly Matt Cullen, who looked to have an extra jump in his step. Shots were 17-11 in favor of Colorado, but that seemed very generous.

The Wild looked better in the second period, slightly dominating even, but they just couldn't find a way to get a puck past Semyon Varlamov. Dany Heatley had a notably good period, featuring a backhander off the crossbar and a diving play in the defensive zone to deflect a sure goal away from the net. Matt Cullen also continued his strong play. The powerplay was dismal once again, but the defense looked the best it has looked since the trade deadline. Both goaltenders were on the top of their game tonight. Cal Clutterbuck got hurt when he got a fist to the face, but he returned later in the game.

The third period was a great goaltender's duel between Varlamov and Hackett. Both goalies got some doozies, like Hackett's arm-to-leg save towards the end of the period and Varlamov's theft of Dany Heatley with a quick whip of the pad on a juicy rebound. Both teams benefitted from a powerplay, but the penalty killers were up to the task for both teams. As a last hurrah, the Wild pulled Hackett with 2:30 remaining, but they were never able to take advantage of the extra man because of stoppages in the play forcing Hackett back in net and Colorado not allowing the Wild to get through the neutral zone. In the end, the Wild were bested 2-0.

So that's a second straight shutout, but this time they actually made an effort. Can't say anything bad about the Wild's performance tonight. I feel the Wild were unfairly booed off the ice by the fans after the game. They ran into a hot goalie in Varlamov and they simply don't have much talent on the ice right now. While injuries are not an excuse when talking about effort, they make a difference when you have third liners acting as top-6 players. Meanwhile, this is another nail on the Wild's season's coffin and fans are getting worn out from watching the games and have begun to talk about the ''Dive for Top Five''. Sigh.

Next game is Tuesday against the same Avs. We'll be here, as we are the eternal gluttons for punishment.

Happy birthday Bryan. Be sure to clean up your mess when you're done. I'm not wiping the puke off the floor again.

Fun facts:

- Despite the low number of wins lately, the Wild lead the NHL in wins after giving up the first goal with 17.

- From reader Outbackjoe77:

Tonight’s game we got scored on 1:42 into the game

It the four previous games:
-Detroit on 3/2 we got scored on 0:35 into the game
-Montreal on 3/1 we got scored on 2:33 into the game
- LA on 2/28 we got scored on 0:44 into the game
- San Jose on 2/26 we got scored on 1:22 into the game

This means, in the last 5 games, the average amount of time it took before the Wild allowed a goal was 1:23.

- Before the game, Matt Hackett had 100 saves on 102 shots in his NHL career, which translates to a 0.62 GAA and a 0.980 SV%. Tonight, he stopped 34 of 36 for a 0.944 SV%. Another strong performance. 2 goals is the highest number he's allowed in a single game in 2 starts and 6 appearances.

Shuttlebus_medium

The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:

  1. Semyon Varlamov (30 save shutout)
  2. Matt Hackett (0.944SV%, 34 saves.)
  3. Jamie McGinn (2G)
5 questions:

  1. Over under on shifts played with Gilbert / Kampfer pairing is set at five. What you got? They played the majority of the game together and it actually worked. I liked Kampfer's play and Gilbert is improving. Both ended up -1 though.
  2. Is this the Dive for Top Five, or the Search for Pride? They played like they were on the Search for Pride, but they left with a result helping towards the Dive for Top Five.
  3. With the defense on the ropes, does anyone care to step up and lead? Heatley and Cullen played very well and Matt Hackett made some key saves.
  4. MOAR NEW GUYZ!!!11 This is a sure sign of good things to come, right? They're starting to look better, so there's that.
  5. Can Dater's idiocy be shut down, or merely contained? I have no clue, I don't follow him, but I'll guess he's still an idiot.
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