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Wild try to even series against Avalanche

by Staff


(Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)


Big story: The Colorado Avalanche will look to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference First Round series after holding home ice with a 5-4 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Avalanche trailed 4-2 but scored twice in the final period to tie, with each goal coming in large part due to glaring mistakes by the Wild.

"You're going to face adversity in the playoffs," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Friday. "We want to get on a run here, and any team that's going to have any kind of success in the playoffs, you're going to face adversity."

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota had the puck on its stick prior to each Colorado goal in the third period and was unable to clear the zone.

"We let a game get away from us, but if we had won that game, there be no guarantees," Yeo said. "There's enough positives to take from that game where we should feel good about ourselves. That was a winnable game for us. But I know we can be better."

Forward Jason Pominville hit the post in overtime, bringing back bad memories from last year's Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks, when Jason Zucker did the same thing. Chicago won that game a few minutes later and went on to win the series in five games.

"It's not easy. That's hockey," captain Mikko Koivu told the Star Tribune. "If it were easy, you're in the wrong spot. Now it's all about tomorrow. And we feel pretty good about ourselves and our game. We have to fix the little things."

Avalanche: Colorado got physical with Minnesota, holding a 41-28 edge in hits. But the Avalanche also have plenty to work on. They turned over the puck several times and did not get a great performance in goal from Vezina Trophy candidate Semyon Varlamov. The Wild were able to execute their game plan of getting pucks deep and establishing a puck-possession game in the Colorado end.

"It's good for our guys to learn in winning," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "It's good for our confidence. It shows that what we're doing are the right things and it also gives us a bit of momentum. But I think it's a bit too early to say how much momentum it will give us."

Who's hot: Wild forward Erik Haula scored a goal Thursday and has at least a point in seven of his past eight games. Haula, who started the game Thursday on the fourth line, was moved up late in the game and will likely see more ice time in Game 2. … Avalanche forward Paul Stastny scored the tying and overtime goals Thursday and had an assist; he has seven goals and 15 points in his past 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Injury report: Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper (upper body) will be back as the backup to Ilya Bryzgalov. Forward Jason Zucker (quad), defenseman Keith Ballard (groin) and goaltenders Josh Harding (illness) and Niklas Backstrom (abdominal) are out. … Avalanche forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and John Mitchell (head) are out.

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