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It's not a victory, but it's improvement for Wild in loss to Avs

Team has plenty to build upon before next game Thursday in Winnipeg

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

DENVER -- Two games into a six-month long marathon, nobody in a Wild uniform is looking for moral victories. 

But following a 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday that dropped Minnesota's record to 0-2-0 on the season, the Wild has no choice but to find the positives. 

After two games against two of the NHL's top teams, both on the road, the Wild remains without a point in the standings. But it has shown improvement through two games. And this time of year, that's not nothing.

"We played a solid 50 minutes," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. "I thought the first 10 minutes we were back on our heels and they were coming at us. it's disappointing to not come out of that with a point. We did a lot of good things and we've got to continue to work at it."

Colorado built a two-goal lead in the first 10 minutes, scoring a power-play goal and an even-strength marker less than two minutes apart.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout and lit into his group on the bench.

Whatever he said seemed to stem the tide. 

Slowly but surely, the Wild got into its game, and later in the period, Suter's point shot hit traffic in front and deflected past Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer, halving the Minnesota deficit.

Video: MIN@COL: Suter nets long wrister off defender

"I think we all got a little ticked off," Suter said of what was said during the timeout. "We knew that we hadn't played good at all and wanted to get going."

Minnesota continued its push into the second, capitalizing on a power play of its own at 8:31 when Matt Dumba banked a snap shot off the right hip of Zach Parise, tying the game at 2-2. 

Video: MIN@COL: Parise tips shot home in front for PPG

"Take the first 10 minutes out of the game, as you could take the first 10 minutes out the game in Nashville when they outshot us 10-0, we played really good," Boudreau lamented. "We played really hard. The effort we put in was really good I thought. I don't know what else to say. It was a hard-fought game. Somebody's gotta win sometimes. Somebody's gotta lose."

The mood in the locker room, while somber, was one that seemed upbeat.

Tweet from @mnwild: "Lot of positives, obviously we have to fix some of the negatives." - Suter📹 More from Parise, Fiala and Dumba from tonight's loss in Colorado.#MINvsCOL | #mnwild

After the disappointment of blowing a third-period lead in Nashville by unravelling in a 5-2 loss in Thursday's season opener, the Wild was able to go neck and neck with one of the League's trendy picks to win the Central.

Gabriel Landeskog's goal late in the second period ended up being the difference, and it came after a breakdown in defensive zone coverage. 

It wasn't a full-game or full-period meltdown ... it was one bad shift that ended up being the difference.

Colorado added an empty-net goal in the final minute after the Wild had three grade-A looks at the Colorado net with the extra attacker.

While it's certainly not ideal, it gives the Wild plenty to feel confident about as it goes into a four-day break before its next game Thursday night in Winnipeg. 

At some point, the wins need to start coming. But if it plays like it did in Denver, those will come too.

Tweet from @mnwild: "It was a hard fought game."📹 Boudreau on tonight's loss in Denver.#MINvsCOL | #mnwild

"We've started off not, obviously, not very good 0-2 but at the same time I think we've played two of the best teams in the League ," Boudreau said. "I thought we played them the Nashville game we were ahead in the third period and this game it's tooth and nail the whole way. I want to go home and think of the positive effect that when they start going in rather than the negative oh woe is me effect."

Said Parise: "As expected they came out buzzing, which we have to expect in this building. But after we settled down a little bit I thought we took the game over. We had some good looks and good opportunities. The effort was there. We played hard. They capitalized when they got that rush late in the second and that was it."


Postgame Hat Trick: Avalanche 4, Wild 2

Video: MIN Recap: Suter, Parise score in loss to Avalanche

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