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Coming off yet another disappointing loss, the Avalanche headed into Minnesota to take on the team’s bitter rival. The Wild have been hot lately, boasting a seven-game win streak and sitting second in the division prior to puck drop. The first couple of minutes began much like other recent games for the Avalanche with the opponent controlling play. However, Semyon Varlamov showed early he had an eye for the puck tonight with a snappy glove save on a point-blank shot from Jason Pominville.
With seven minutes left in the opening frame, Mikhail Grigorenko took the first penalty of the game, going to the box for holding. The Wild put some shots on net, with Charlie Coyle picking up a rebound off one of them to give the Wild a power play goal and a 1-0 lead. The rest of the period was fairly pedestrian for both teams, and the clocked ticked off without any additional scoring. The score notwithstanding, the stat from the period which showed the most glaring discrepancy in play between the teams was the face off win percentage with the Wild controlling play from the circle almost 80% of the time.
Early in the second period, Eric Staal was awarded a penalty shot as he was pulled down on a short breakaway up the middle. It was a questionable call as Staal did not appear to have a step on the defenders. Fortunately for the Avalanche, Varlamov made an easy glove save on the shot attempt, and Colorado did not have to kill a penalty on the play.
Seven minutes later, the Avalanche defensemen suffered from miscommunication, something that has happened far too frequently this season, and left Mikko Koivu wide open at the side of the crease. Matt Dumba slid the puck across the middle, and Koivu put his team up 2-0. The score remained 2-0 at the second period horn with the Wild holding a commanding shot lead of 27 to 15.
The third period was rife with penalties; it was not, however, rife with goals. Despite a combined 16 minutes of box time, neither team hit the back of the net, and the game concluded with yet another Avalanche loss.
1. Mikko Koivu (1 goal)
2. Devan Dubnyk (18-save shut out)
3. Semyon Varlamov (31 saves, .930 save percentage)
PLAY OF THE GAME
Semyon Varlamov’s glove save in the first period was a beauty, but it was the save on Eric Staal during the second period that kept the Avalanche in the game.
The Wild’s second goal seemed to cement the game for Minnesota, and the Avalanche were never really much of a threat afterward.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado returns home for a Thursday-night bid against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is 7:00 pm MT.