Wild hold off late Avalanche push to even series at 2-2

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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.