Starting Monday, May 26, Wild.com will host the Top Plays of the Year Tournament, presented by Dairy Queen. That will give fans the chance to vote on their favorite play of the year. It’s no secret that over here on Wild.com we love helping select the top plays each week for fans to vote on. Since there were a handful of great plays from the Wild’s Stanley Cup Playoff appearance, and you really can’t throw them into a regular-season Top Plays Tourney, Managing Editor Mike Doyle is counting down his Top 5 Playoff Plays. His second-favorite play comes from Mikael Granlund.
No. 2: Granlund’s Game 3 Magic
Mikael Granlund already appeared on the countdown for his Game 3 goal in the Second Round against the Chicago Blackhawks. Well, his Game 3 goal in the First Round against the Colorado Avalanche was every bit as magnificent with a little more at stake.
After dropping two games in the Mile High City, the Wild returned to Xcel Energy Center in desperate need of a win. Minnesota came out firing, but couldn’t get anything past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Through three periods of regulation, Varlamov stood on his head to make 44 saves, including six on Granlund.
The game was locked at zero heading to overtime. The next goal would either put the Wild behind the proverbial eight ball or bank the club right back in to the series.
With the club’s playoff hopes on teetering on the brink, Granlund went to work. The 22-year-old scored a pin balling, second-effort, sliding goal for his first career playoff tally. The goal capped an instant classic contest and vaulted the Wild right back into the series. The effort was so good Wild.com broke down the film and subsequent celebration that followed the next day. The day after the win, I was on a radio appearance and the host asked me if the goal was in the conversation with Andrew Brunette’s Game 7 winner against Colorado in 2003, as the most memorable Wild goal. My response: Wait, it was too soon to judge because, while it was an absolute beauty, it was only Game 3 and there was still a lot of series left to be played. Amazingly, it is only No. 2 on the list because of the dramatics that followed in the series.