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The Colorado Avalanche had a confounding leading up to their home game against the Minnesota Wild with them outplaying teams but not getting the kind of goaltending they’ve had in previous years, causing them to be on the wrong end of lopsided scores.
The first period of their game against Minnesota was different in that they got great goaltending but also outplayed. Despite a 15-10 shot advantage for the Wild, Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard rose to the occasion and kept the game scoreless heading into the second period.
Colorado began the period on the penalty kill but a Blake Comeau mini breakaway resulted in multiple Minnesota penalties at the same time. With the lengthy 5-on-3, Colorado managed just one shot on goal and failed to score, although their best scoring chance to that point occurred but Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin blocked a shot that was headed for a vacated net as Devan Dubnyk was caught out of position.
Colorado and Minnesota went back to their old Northwest Division days and played an increasingly dull game throughout the rest of the second period as the score remained 0-0 heading into the third period.
The third period provided some unique fireworks as Dubnyk took some liberties with Gabriel Landeskog in front of the net, slashing him several times before Landeskog decided he’d had enough and the two exchanged shoves, jabs, and, presumably, angry words. The exchange resulted in a Colorado power play and while the Avs did not score, they clearly gained momentum from the entire experience as they began taking it to the Wild.
Another Minnesota penalty finally cost them as Matt Duchene found Landeskog in front of the net, who slipped the puck past Dubnyk this time instead of trying to punch him, and the Avalanche took the lead, 1-0. Mikko Rantanen recorded his first NHL point on the play, getting the second assist.
A late flurry by Minnesota proved futile as the goal they scored in the final minute was disallowed due to obvious goaltender interference. Colorado hang on and Pickard earned his first shutout of the season.
1. Calvin Pickard
2. Gabriel Landeskog
3. Devan Dubnyk
PLAY OF THE GAME/TURNING POINT
The Landeskog goal put Colorado ahead and broke a lengthy scoreless streak for an anemic Avalanche offense.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado has a tough turnaround as they head to St. Louis to take on the Blues tomorrow afternoon. Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MST.