Wild Reach for Character a Mile High

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild are coming in to stop the road trip dead in its tracks.

"That's a character win for our guys, there's nothing more than that...they had to dig extremely deep in the third period, and that's what they did," head coach Mike Yeo said about his team's ability to rally and come from behind late in the third period to win the game in the shootout. The Wild are coming in to stop the road trip dead in its tracks.

The Wild opened the game with seemingly more energy. The second line with Erik Haula centering Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville had a great start with some good pressure in the Avalanche zone. Josh Harding was tested with one power play against after Jonas Brodin interfered with Nathan Mackinnon. Harding absolutely robbed P.A. Parenteau of a gaping net on the power play. He has been the only one to show up on this road trip and has made far too many of those crazy, acrobatic, impossible-type saves just to keep the Wild in the game. The first period ended with Colorado leading in shots 11-6 with the benefit of having the one power play.

Second period saw a ton of line juggling. Every player that made up the second line was shifted to a different line before being reassembled. Haula continues his solid defensive zone play and made some good plays offensively by attacking the net. "Haula, I thought he had some really good moments, there was a couple moments he made some young plays, but that's our job to work with him on that. I thought he came in and did a real nice job tonight," Yeo said after the game about his second line center. Colorado would eventually take the lead when Cory Sarich took a shot from the right point. The shot was headed wide-right but deflected off of Maxime Talbot's shin guard in behind Harding. Minnesota would push back in such a way that you could not push back any more without potting a goal. The top line started the two minute sift with a good cycle down low. Zach Parise had good looks, Spurgeon had a decent look, and the Wild pressured Semyon Varlamov and the Avs but still could not find the back of the net. The Wild were in the zone for so long that they were able to bring the second line out while still possessing the puck in the offensive zone. Colorado would fight through the rest of the period and take the 1-0 lead into the locker room.

Minnesota finally got its first power play in five periods against Colorado. With fairly decent zone time, the Wild find it hard to put one by Varlamov until the 16:07 mark when Suter walked in from the blue line and got a good shot on net that was tipped underneath Varlamov and in to the net by Niederreiter. The game would head to overtime in which the Wild caught an Avalanche team holding on for dear life because it had been in a defensive mode the entire period. Unfortunately Minnesota could not finish it in the extra time and this game would go to a shootout.

The Avs chose to shoot first and started it off right with a goal by Matt Duchene. Parise followed Duchene's goal with one of his own to even the shootout at one. P.A. Parenteau got his shot stuffed by Harding, and Koivu unleash his bread ‘n' butter backhander to pull ahead. It was all down to Harding to stop Ryan O'Reilly, whom had one the game in the shootout on November 30 in Denver. This time, Harding was equal to the task with a big glove save to seal the victory. The Wild handed the Avalanche its first loss in the overtime/shootout of the season. The victory pulled the Wild into a tie with Colorado for third place in the Central Division with 43 points.

Stats

Shots were even at 27 a piece

Wild were 0/1 on their PP chance; Colorado was 0/2 on their PP chances

Ryan Suter led all skaters with 32:51 TOI

Nino Niederreiter scored his 6th goal of the season

Erik Haula was 40 % (2/5) in faceoffs

1.) Cody McLeod has a history of being a dirty player, and the last time these two teams had a home and home series, he made a dangerous boarding hit on Jonas Brodin. Can he managed to not maim someone tonight? He did go after Dany Heatley because, you know, Heater is a tough guy and all. I mean, Heatley spared McLeod the pain from his stone-hands.

2.) Can Charlie Coyle find his game again now that he is back on the first line? Coyle looked pretty good back on the first line. He used his body well to protect the puck and had a good showing out there.

3.) Do the line adjustments that Yeo made result in some scoring? Like, any scoring? Niederreiter did stop a goal-less drought, so that happened.

4.) Do the Wild get the "lose embarrassingly to Edmonton" Avs, or the beginning of the season Avs tonight? Both teams played a really tight game, but if I had to pick one it would be in the middle somewhere closer to "lose to Edmonton" Avs.

5.) If a tree falls in the woods, and traps Dater for a week, and he has to chew his arm off to escape, does anyone care? (Courtesy of former Hockey Wilderness head-honcho Bryan) Thanks Bryan for this question because no. No one cares about Adrian Dater and his blabbering

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