Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche: Game Recap

The crowd is back and the team welcomed them with a win. Just watch out for falling objects - Hannah Foslien

NHL hockey has returned to the Xcel Energy Center, and with it an over capacity crowd of 19,298 just waiting for their opportunity to blow the roof off the place, and were welcomed back with a 4-2 win.

Minnesota Wild 4-2 Colorado Avalanche

NHL hockey has returned to the Xcel Energy Center, and with it an over capacity crowd of 19,298 just waiting for their opportunity to blow the roof off the place. Unfortunately, the roof (or perhaps pieces of a light or potentially chunks of ice - we are still uncertain) rained down on some fans in the lower bowl. We haven't received word of any injuries, so we're holding out hope that all is well.

A lackluster start to the game (where have we heard that before?) saw the Wild down 1-0 on a John Mitchell (who?) goal down low from Steve Downie and Milan Hejduk and the Wild were outshot 12-5. A few members of the crowd let their displeasure be known by booing the squad off the ice.

We are assuming that either Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise or Coach Yeo rained down holy hell upon the club in the locker room (though I like the idea that they just sat down, looked around and said "Fuck (35), that was shitty. Let's do better." Because the Wild outshot the Avs 30-15 the rest of the way (granted some really bad penalties from Colorado helped that cause).

in the second period, the Wild power play led the way (which is nice considering they were actually booed at one point with the man advantage) providing two power play goals by Dany Heatley (his 61st career two-goal game) and Mikael Granlund's first NHL goal.

The third period saw Colorado get within one as Cody McLeod (vomit) got a hard-working goal down low on the rebound of a Greg Zanon (he is allowed to get points?) shot, but Pierre-Marc Bouchard rifled a top shelf goal from down low off a nice play from Cal Clutterbuck. The squad tried hard to get Dany Heatley the chance to notch the hat trick with the empty net, but were unable to finish the deal.

Either way, the Wild won 4-2, the first line amassed 6 points, Mikael Granlund got his first goal out of the way and the fans went home happy. It's good to be back.

Bryan's Take:

Plan the parade.

Interesting Nuggets

  • Dany Heatley scored his 350th career goal and is the leading power play goal scorer in the NHL since 2002-2003 (131)
  • Niklas Backstrom is 21-5-2 all time versus the Avalanche
  • Minnesota is now 11-0-1 in home openers

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Dany Heatley (2 G)
  2. Zach Parise (2 A)
  3. Mikael Granlund (1 G)

Five Questions:

  1. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Worth the price? In the second and third periods, Parise was instrumental in creating scoring opportunities, putting pucks on net, stifling the Avs with a pestering forecheck and providing calm leadership when the team could have come out sluggish after a disappointing first period. Ryan Suter was fantastic. Controlling the flow of the game, moving the puck out of the zone and quarterbacking a reasonably productive power play unit. One game in, Wild fans have to feel good about this.
  2. Mikael Granlund. Worth the wait? Looked a bit lost in the first period, and still needs to get stronger. He was pushed off the play too easily too often tonight, but that goal was a beauty.
  3. Mikko Koivu. Kid in a candy shop, or pissed off Finn? I'm guessing that after the first period, he was a pissed off Finn, leading to an excellent second period in which Koivu was clearly a kid in a candy store. That line of Parise - Koivu - Heatley will be difficult to defend all season long.
  4. Tom Gilbert. Has he figured out the system yet? Gilbert was adequate tonight. Not great, not horrible. He'll have to pick up his play as the season goes on.
  5. How cool is it to be back? Good times tonight. Very good times.
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