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Postgame Hat Trick: Avalanche 7, Wild 1

Three takeaways from Minnesota's loss to Colorado on Friday night in Denver

by Dan Myers @DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 7-1 loss against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on Friday night:

1. It wasn't a terrible start for the Wild, who actually had the better of the scoring chances early in the game.

But like Thursday in Arizona, when it had chances to extend its lead, it simply couldn't finish. 

Nino Niederreiter had a glorious chance, all alone in front of Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov just a couple minutes into the game, but Varlamov somehow got his right pad extended far enough to stop the puck. 

On the other end, Colorado got on the board at 9:42 when a shot from the point by Mikko Rantanen was deflected by Gabriel Landeskog in front, giving the Avs the lead.

It was downhill from there.

Nathan MacKinnon got in the act less than three minutes later with Colorado on the power play. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau used his team's timeout, and Minnesota actually had some jump over the final eight minutes of the period.

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame at Colorado

"It was still very much of a game, we had 50 minutes to play at that point, let's not get down," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told his players during the stoppage. "If you're gonna get down and think negative thoughts and not be positive about your abilities, then you're gonna lose before you start."

Once again, however, it couldn't get on the scoreboard. Had it, the tone and tenor of the game may have been very different.

"I think we came out with the right way to play and the right attitude," Boudreau said. "The first goal goes in off a leg and the second one on the power play right away and I think [Colorado is] thinking deja vu."

2. The Avs extended their lead in a tough second period for the Wild, scoring four times in the span of 6:46. 

First it was Tyson Barrie, then MacKinnon scored his second of the night, one that barely survived an offsides challenge. 

"I thought that third goal was the difference," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. "I thought if we get one, we're back into it and you never know what happens there. We just weren't able to contain them. They were coming at us with four or five guys every rush."

Video: Locker room postgame at Colorado

When Carl Soderberg's backhand sweep from the right half wall pinballed in off Eric Staal, it just seemed like one of those nights. 

Mikko Rantanen finished the offensive barrage before the Wild found the scoreboard with under three minutes left in the period. With a delayed penalty, Mikko Koivu sniped a shot past Varlamov for his 12th goal and second in as many nights.

Video: MIN@COL: Koivu finishes Parise's smooth feed 

Koivu now has a goal in three straight games and could be heating up at the right time.

3. It was a humbling two-game road trip for the Wild, which lost 5-3 in Arizona on Thursday night. 

The consecutive losses in regulation marked the first time Minnesota has done that since a pair of losses in Florida just before Christmas.

"Coming off the game last night, we wanted to do a better job and get a result. But it went the other way and it's not a good feeling right now," Staal said. "But we gotta get back at it. It's one game and we've gotta respond at home on Sunday."

It's been a pretty good run for Minnesota, which has been one of the top teams in the NHL during that span. A slow and steady climb up the Central Division standings has ensued, as the Wild began the month of March entrenched in third place in its division.

The Wild still owns that spot, but Dallas, Colorado and St. Louis are all in close pursuit. 

That makes it imperative that Minnesota returns home and finds its game with a pair of contests at Xcel Energy Center, first against Detroit on Sunday, then Carolina on Tuesday, before another trip west to Vancouver and Edmonton next weekend.

"I'm disappointed we gave up 11 goals the last four periods. That's not something you want to do," Boudreau said. "I'm disappointed any time now, that you lose, one or two in a row, teams are gaining on you all over the place.

"[But] we're still in a good spot. It's not the end of the world right now."


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