This is it, guys, it's do-or-die.
The Minnesota Wild jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Zach Parise (on the PP) and Mikael Granlund (whose goal was especially pretty). And then they went on a 5-on-3.
The crowd went nuts when the Wild got up 5-on-3 for a minute and seven seconds. Apparently, they had not seen the Wild on 5-on-3 this season. The Wild have (I'm fairly certain) not scored once this season on a 5-on-3 in (I believe) 10 opportunities. A stunning lack of success for any team.
Any optimism that this was a small-sample-size issue was negated when Ryan Suter messed up a shot, and the puck got out to Paul Stastny, who was leaving the penalty box, and the Avalanche scored their first of the game to put the Avs within one at the end of the first.
The second period would be no better, as the Avalanche pounced all over the Wild, forcing 14 shots, to the Wild's 6. The Avs scored on a power-play goal by Nick Holden less than 5 minutes into the period to tie the game up.
Special teams are being the factor in this game, and the Wild are losing that battle. The two teams have a combined 12 penalties, leading to 3 4-on-4s, which the skilled Avs will gladly take for the extra room on the ice.
The Wild really need to shape up in the third period if they want to win this series. This blown lead represents the third major blown lead of this series, and no team can survive that in a 7-game series.
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