Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 5-4 loss against the Colorado Avalanche:
Hope you didn’t turn off that game before the third period.
With the Wild trailing by three goals after two periods, it was time to rally the troops in the third. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo shook up the lines and put Mikael Granlund between Jason Pominville and Zach Parise. The move worked as all three scored in the final frame. However, the rally came up just short in a one-goal loss.
The Wild was unable to gain ground in the Central Division against the Avalanche. After ending the first tied, the Avs broke through in the second scoring three unanswered goals.
Minnesota definitely didn’t get any breaks tonight and the deficit was just too much to overcome. The Avalanche’s second goal, scored by John Mitchell was a changeup that fooled Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper. The Avalanche’s second goal looked like it came on an offsides play. Paul Stastny looked like he beat the puck across the blue line before dropping it to Erik Johnson. Of course, Stastny knocked in Johnson’s rebound shot. Conveniently, the Avs’ television broadcast only showed the play beginning with the drop pass and not the entire sequence.
If Wayne Gretzky’s office was behind the net, Zach Parise’s is right in front of it.
If you want to find Parise out on the ice, a good place to start looking is a foot outside of the crease. With the Wild on its lone power play of the first period, Ryan Suter took a long point shot, which was redirected by Dany Heatley high in the slot. Parise was stationed in front of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov for the entire sequence and banged home the bouncing puck. If you want to score goals, get to the net — Parise has done it his entire career.
It was the gritty winger’s second-straight game with a goal for his 17th of the season. It was also his ninth power play goal, which has him tied for fourth in the National Hockey League.
With the Wild down in the third, Parise was all over the ice tying the game with an absolute laser off the post and in for his 18th. He skated down the left side and ripped it low to Varlamov’s glove side and in. Parise also added assists on Granlund and Pominville’s goals for a four-point night, tying a career high.
In the third, Yeo put Parise with Granlund and Pominville, and the three caught fire. Parise’s second of the game was assisted by Granlund and Pominville. Pominville’s goal came on a pinpoint pass from Granlund and Parise added the second assist.
With the trio catching fire like that in the third, you’d have to imagine they’d be together at tomorrow’s practice. The combination makes for an interesting set, Parise the puck hound, Granlund the silky setup man and Pominville the natural scorer.
In a high-scoring contest, Minnesota’s penalty kill shut down the Avs power play. The Wild killed off all three of the Avalanche’s first period power plays, which coming into the contest ranked 11th in the NHL. Minnesota didn’t allow the Avs to get set up, which is paramount to a good PK.
One standout performance while shorthanded came from defenseman Nate Prosser. On the first shorthanded chance, Prosser was battling the in the corner with Colorado forward Ryan O’Reilly. It looked like O’Reilly had Prosser beat coming out of the corner. However, Prosser recovered, battled, stole the puck and then cleared it the length of the ice with O’Reilly draped all over him.
Earlier today, the Avs signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a five-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season. Coming into the contest, he owned a 26-9-5 record 2.43 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The 25-year-old is tied for third among NHL goaltenders in wins, ranks second in saves (1,199), third in shots faced (1,296), sixth in games (42-tied) and eighth in save percentage (.925).
The Samara, Russia native was named to the Russian Olympic Team and will represent the host country next month in Sochi. He was named to the 2010 team as the third goaltender but did not make an appearance.