Wild Rally Late, Lose in a Shootout to Colorado

Hannah Foslien

Late goals from Cooke and Koivu, would secure a big point in the standings, but the Wild can't score in the shootout.

The Minnesota Wild continued the second half of their back-to-back home-and-home series with the Colorado Avalanche. With a script almost identical to Friday's game, the Wild would rally late in the third period behind Matt Cooke's first in 22 games and Mikko Koivu's last second game-tying goal to force overtime and a shootout.

The Avs got an early fluke goal from Gabriel Landeskog after a shot from below the left face-off dot deflected in off the left arm of Harding. Minnesota finally started getting pressure on Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov but he would prove to be equal to the task. The shots were even after one period at 11. "Even though we were down after the first period, we had a much better start," Yeo said about his team's effort in the first period.

The second period started the way the first period ended - the Wild struggling to solve Varlamov. Outshooting the Avalanche 11-8 in the period, Colorado would add to its lead when rookie Nathan MacKinnon would gather up a Marco Scandella turnover and absolutely unleashed a wrist shot labeled for the spot where they keep the premium liquor. The Wild were forcing and forcing all night to make plays. The third line consisting of Matt Cooke, Kyle Brodziak, and Torrey Mitchell were the best line all night. They created offensive zone time and even some decent looks at the net. Nino Niederreiter also played very well tonight. He was constantly around the net and creating chances.

The Wild came out of the locker room for the third period determined to tie the game. The team looked utterly snake bitten. Mike Yeo was happy with the effort, "... We were clearly engaged in the game." Creating great chances, the Wild just could not get one past Varlamov until the 16:33 mark when Matt Cooke scored to cut the lead in half. It was Cooke's first goal in 22 games. After the goal, the Avalanche would push back, not allowing the Wild to pull Josh Harding until 40 seconds left. Mikko Koivu would come up with the clutch goal at the 19:54 mark to send the game to overtime.

Overtime was back and forth and both teams had multiple scoring chances in what was a very exciting overtime period. Jared Spurgeon, who logged 29:25 of ice time, would almost seal this one with a wrap around, but he could not tuck it in past the goaltender.

The game ended in a shootout with all three Wild shooters getting denied by Varlamov, while Ryan O'Reilly would be the only one to score for the Avs.

"That's a huge point, and it's a great reminder of what happens if we play the right way," Mike Yeo said in his post-game press conference. The Wild have now lost four in a row. When asked about if the Wild feel fortunate to get the point after being down two, Koivu said, "Not sure if we're fortunate. If you look at the shots and look at the game and how we went, I think we deserved at least a point... We came out of this one with one point, we came here for two."

The Wild will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota hopes that it can repeat its effort from tonight, but with more scoring against an Eastern Conference opponent.

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