Happy Potato Chip Day, State of Hockey!
Whether you like barbeque, sour cream and onion, or jalapeno, we can all agree that enjoying the salty snack is way better when you’re watching the Wild win. Well, tonight you’ll get a good chance at seeing a Minnesota win while enjoying your chips because the club is hosting the Colorado Snowflakes, also known as the Avalanche.
The Wild will have salty-dangler, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, back in the lineup tonight. He’ll be skating on the wing with Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi. Bouchard is in for an ailing Jason Zucker, who suffered an upper body injury against Anaheim on an illegal hit from Corey Perry. For the act, Perry received a four-game suspension.
Today we also celebrate Pi Day, the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159. For the occasion, Minnesota will start goaltender Niklas Backstrom. His goals against average is well below Pi at 2.18 lifetime against the Avs.
Newly inked defenseman Brett Clark and Nate Prosser will be tonight's healthy scratches. Goaltender Josh Harding (treatment for multiple sclerosis) is on Injured Reserve.
The Wild wears its Iron Range Red sweaters; while the Avs wear its road whites with eggplant-trim and mountain ‘A’ logo.
Follow the action on Twitter at @mnwildLIVE and hashtag it up with us.
Fire it up!
Period 1 - MIN 1, COL 1
The Wild again got the game rolling with the first goal of the contest, but the Avs answered late in the period with a power play goal.
After a Zenon Konopka fight got the crowd fired up, Torrey Mitchell kept the energy at Xcel Energy Center going with his second goal of the season. After a strong forecheck, he took a centering pass from Matt Cullen and found a seam under the armpit of Avs' netminder Semyon Varlamov.
PA Parenteau was at the top of the left circle and looked like he was uncorking a cannon, but flubbed the shot. It ended up knuckling through a screen over the glove of Niklas Backstrom. Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny picked up the assists on the play.
The Wild outplayed the Avs for much of the period, firing 13 shots compared to the Avs' nine. Minnesota will keep it rolling here in the second period. Mark it Donny.
Period 2 - MIN 4, COL 2
Now that was fun. Minnesota continued to apply the pressure, scoring twice before Colorado answered. The Wild came right back with one of the prettiest goals you'll ever see to build a two-goal lead.
First, Matt Cullen was streaking in and faked a slapper. He walked the Colorado defender who went down to try and block the shot and cut in on goal. Varlamov made the save, but the rebound went to Devin Setoguchi, who was busting to the net. Setoguchi tapped home the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.
Jonas Brodin made it a two goal lead with his first-career NHL goal. He took a pass from Ryan Suter and had a look on goal. He made no mistake about it, going high over the glove of Varlamov.
The Avs scored moments later as Gabriel Landeskog slipped a puck past Backstrom. He took a pass from behind the net from Ryan O'Reilly and out-waited the Wild netminder and tucked it past his outstretched arm. Stastny picked up the second assist.
Mikko Koivu again made it a two-goal Wild lead with his fifth of the season. Koivu didn't have to do much, as Suter and Parise entered the zone and make two touch passes. Parise then found Koivu on the back door with a yawning net. The Wild captain fired it home for the team's third goal of the period.
Wild looks to close this one out with a two-goal lead.
Period 3 - MIN 5, COL 3
The Avs scored on a funky goal to make things interesting, but the Wild added a late empty net goal to ice the game.
Parenteau scored on a fortunate bounce off the end boards. Erik Johnson missed the net wide on a slap shot and the puck rebounded right onto the tape of Parenteau, who fired it passed a surprised Backstrom. Greg Zanon picked up the second assist.
Koivu scored his second of the game on an empty net with 33 seconds left in the game to ice it for the Wild.
Minnesota gets to face the Avs again, this time in Colorado on Saturday. We'll see you all then.