Avalanche @ Wild - Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 1 - View from My Living Room
I can't take 7 games of this. This game had classic Minnesota Wild ebb and flow. Wild dominate the 1st but don't score. They don't show up for the 2nd and get down 2 goals. Mikko Koivu gets a goal off a skate and then tie it up on a pretty pretty powerplay goal by Todd Fedoruk. Then you get the drama of an Avs penalty shot with less than 5 minutes left against the worst shootout goalie in the history of the NHL, and Niklas Backstrom makes a great save to stay alive. They hold off a surging Avalanche team to get to overtime. The OT was back and forth, the Wild get 2 glorious chances to end it but Avalanche G Jose Theodore stops Brent Burns and the Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra. Then Wild killer Joe Sakic scores the game winner, Avs win 3-2. Pretty much how you would script this game.
Now I gotta go to work all early and bummed tomorrow.
- Wild were 1 for 5 on the powerplay with the one goal in the 3rd that tied it up. Connecting early on one of those PP opportunities would have jacked up the crowd and could have meant something different in the outcome. Conversely, Colorado was 1 for 1.
- The Wild were terrible in the 2nd. The defensemen were trying to swipe the puck away from the Avs instead of taking the body, like they did in the 1st.
- Sticking with the D, they're going to have to tighten up. Replacing Nick Schultz with Pterri Nummelin is obviously not a good situation, and it showed a bit tonite. On the 1st Avalanche goal, Kurt Sauer beat Keith Carney to get in front of the net and took a pass from Joe Sakic for the lead. It was bang bang, and if Carney can stay in front of him it doesn't happen.
- Mark Parrish left the game with a head injury in the 2nd period. He went hard into the boards at the Wild bench and play was stopped for several minutes while he was helped off the ice. He just gets back into the lineup and goes out with an injury. Tough break for the hometown boy.
- I liked the resiliency of both teams tonite. The Wild for tying it in the 3rd, and the Avs for coming out strong after that tying goal. They carried the momentum for most of the way after that, and unfortunately the Wild could not counter.
- Niklas Backstrom played a real good game tonite. He kept the Wild in it, especially on the penalty shot against Ryan Smyth, who really needs a haircut.
- The Wild seemed to go into home-run pass mode in the OT. Their two big chances came that way, but they weren't able to sustain any pressure down low. That translated into finally breaking in and allowing the game-winner.
- Brian Rolston still on the playoff hot seat.
- It was painful watching the highlight of Sakic's goal on Versus. It was in HD so it looked real good, while the actual game at my house was in ug-o-vision on KSTC 45. Friday's game is scheduled for FSN-HD.
The Fight to Bring the Cup to St. Paul
Wild are now down 1 games to 0 in this best of 7. Best-case scenario - Wild win the next 3 to make game 5 to win the series. That's best-case because I have tix to game 5.
Next on the Docket - Avalanche @ Wild - Fri 4-11-08
Gotta do this all over again Friday. I thought losing game 1 was worst-case scenario for the Wild. They fought so hard to win the division, and now it doesn't matter because now Colorado has home-ice advantage. They HAVE to come out strong for all 3 periods and win Friday. They need to get more chances in front of the net. The team seemed pretty upbeat and encouraged that they played a solid game, and there's some truth to that as they very well could have won the game had the puck bounced a different way. I think they win Friday. Wild 3 Avs 1