Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Denver on Sunday evening:
1. Jared Spurgeon is ready for the regular season to begin.
It's been a solid couple weeks for the Wild blueliner, who inked a new seven-year contract on the eve of training camp that made him the highest paid player (on a AAV basis) in franchise history.
All he's done since is go out and score a couple of goals in the preseason. And while the goals don't count, it's certainly a good sign for Spurgeon, who set career highs in every offensive category last season. If his exhibition play is any indication, he could be primed to reset all those numbers again in 2019-20.
2. The intensity between these two rivals is already at peak levels.
After a contentious game in St. Paul on Saturday, the two Central Division rivals got after each other for the second time in as many days, with things getting chippy right from the start. Just over a minute into the game, Wild defenseman Carson Soucy gave Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri a cross check to the back, letting the veteran centerman know he wasn't ready to back down.
Kadri responded with a heavy forearm cross to Soucy's back.
In the second period, Wild defenseman Nick Seeler and Avalanche forward Dan Renouf dropped the mitts and got into a big time heavyweight bout in the Minnesota defensive end. Renouf started the bout by connecting with a heavy right, but Seeler countered with a flurry of big haymakers of his own.
While the exhibition slate between the teams has wrapped up, fans of both clubs won't have to wait long for the teams to hook up when it matters: Minnesota will be in Denver in 13 days for its second game of regular season.
3. Goaltender Alex Stalock was outstanding.
Facing a number of players who are expected to play big roles for the Avs this season, among them, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, Joonas Donskoi, Cale Makar and others, Stalock was up to the task, stopping 34 shots through 65 minutes of play.
Several of those saves were of the grade-A variety, including a couple in a 12-save second period as the teams went to the final period tied at 2-2.
Among the goals scored by Colorado was one by Tyson Jost in the first period that Stalock had no chance on, when a shot by Donskoi deflected off traffic in front of the goal and landed right on the tape of Jost for an easy tap in. Stalock, who was squared up to face the shot by Donskoi, was down in his butterfly and couldn't get over in time after the tricky bounce.
Stalock made 19 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars in the exhibition opener on Tuesday night. With only two preseason games left, if Stalock has seen his last preseason start, he certainly looks ready to go.