It should’ve been a blowout. But it wasn’t, at least not on the scoreboard. Nonetheless, the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche are heading back to Denver in what is now a best-of-three series.
The Wild, which trailed this series 2-0 as it transitioned back to Minnesota, thoroughly outplayed the Avalanche on Thursday in front of a record crowd of 19,396 fans, but came away with a 2-1 result on the score board when it was over. The play of Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was the only reason this game was as close as it was.
He made 30 saves in a losing cause. He was beaten early on the first period on a perfect slap shot under the cross bar from Jared Spurgeon and again by Charlie Coyle in the second period.
Coyle was the benefactor of a lucky home bounce, as the puck hit off the glass behind the Colorado net and came right out to the Minnesota center, who whacked it past Varlamov.
The Avalanche couldn’t generate much of anything. Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone goal for Colorado, ending Darcy Kuemper’s shutout streak in this series at 124:35, as per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
As a team, the Avalanche was held to 12 shots on goal. In the entire game. They were in the single digits late into the third period, when head coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov for the extra attacker with about 2:35 remaining in regulation and the Avalanche got a late power play.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.