"Real happy to start off that way on front of our crowd," Yeo Said following the game. It was opening night in downtown St. Paul at the corner of 7th and Kellogg. Hello everyone, welcome to the first post-game wrap up for the 2014-15 season. The Wild announced their star-studded roster and showed off the always awesome looking green sweaters for tonight's game.
Minnesota welcomed Central Division rival, the Colorado Avalanche to Xcel Energy Center as the the Wild were looking to get off to a quick start to the season. The Wild were impressive in the first period as they outshot the Avs 17-5. The penalty kill held strong in two opportunities as they didn't allow a single shot down a man in the first period. The Wild did get one power play try and got a bevy of chances, but nothing on net. "I really like the assertiveness and aggressiveness that we killed those penalties with," Yeo commented about his team's penalty kill effort.
Then, with one brilliant stretch pass by Ryan Suter to Mikael Granlund, the Wild were able to take the lead as Jason Pominville gobbled up Granlund's rebound and deposited it in to a wide open net. Colorado's Semyon Varlamov held strong through a barrage of rubber and held his team to just a one-goal deficit.
On to the second period and well...the dominance continued. Minnesota exploded for four more goals. After the Wild put on a clinic on how to cycle the puck, Zach Parise found a pinching Jared Spurgeon whose snap shot blew by Varlamov for the 2-0 lead. Not to be out-done, Parise cashes in on a Granlund feed for his first of the year. Nino Niederreiter, who had been having one of his strongest games in a Wild sweater, gets his first of the year with a solid effort and a deflected puck that found a way behind the Avalanche goaltender. Finally, after Jonas Brodin displayed some fancy foot work to keep the puck in the zone Zach Parise tallies his third point of the night as he finds Ryan Suter at the point who delivered Howitzer that no one was going to stop. The second period was all kinds of goodness for the home team.
You'd be hard-pressed to find one player that didn't look good tonight. Matt Dumba had a few troubles with the puck and took a terrible holding penalty against Matt Duchene.
The third period saw more of the same. The Wild dominating in possession, while the Avs meekly attempted a comeback. Gabriel Landeskog crushed Ryan Carter with a boarding penalty. Jason Zucker stepped in to stand up for his linemate and was assessed a coincidental roughing minor. Minnesota's power play got two opportunities in the game. While getting good zone time, the Wild were only able to get two shots on Semyon Varlamov with the man advantage.
The Wild came out strong in this one. Reto Berra took over the net for Colorado to start the third. They put the pedal to the metal and never let up until the game was well out of reach. Parise finished with three points and 9 shots on goal. Granlund had two points and had three shots. Niederreiter was a horse in his 13:35 Time on Ice, firing seven shots and scoring a goal. Brodin was solid defensively and was good in the offensive zone with three shots. Ryan Suter had the most minutes on the team, but was a much more manageable 25:31 in which he had a goal and added an assist. There were five, count ‘em, 5, different goal scorers tonight. Seven players had points while four players had multiple points.
It was a great season opener. The Wild will now head to Denver where they'll face these same Colorado Avalanche on Saturday who you can bet will want to exact a little revenge for the drubbing on national television. Yeo will get his first chance to show if he can get his guys to play this well when he can't get favorable match-ups away from Xcel Energy Center. Your Wild win 5-0 and it was really never even close.
"We were good tonight, there's no question. Let's not kid ourselves, Colorado was not at their best. I think we helped in that."