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Game Review

AVALANCHE WRAP: Wild Win with aid of referee calls



Stacy Bengs/AP

It was a game where we saw 70 hits, 7 penalties and a fight, in a back and forth battle from the opening puck drop at Xcel Energy Center between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild. When it ended, the score was: Minnesota Wild 3, Avs 2, in overtime. 

It was a strange day, in which the Avs mostly outplayed and out-chanced the Wild, but just couldn’t quite ever separate themselves on the scoreboard. An Erik Johnson penalty on Tyson Jost (remember him?) resulted in a Kevin Fiala goal on the first shift of OT to win it for the Wild. 

Now whether the calls were soft, could and will be debated but nonetheless, but Johnson didn’t have to make that hit with 30 seconds left in the third period. The refs were making those types of calls all day and if there was a chance that it was going to be called, you have to wonder if the play is worth it. Johnson should have been smarter.

Still, it also could have been argued that Johnson was just penalized for being bigger than Jost. It was a borderline call in a third period and overtime that all went the way of the Wild.

“If I comment too much I’ll be in big trouble.” Mikko Rantanen said after the game.

Coach Jared Bednar echoed the same sentiment not having a comment besides he didn’t think Johnson deserved it. 

Rantanen scored his 33rd of the season and Nazem Kadri picked up with 26th as these two continue to produce with Captain Gabe Landeskog out recovering from knee surgery. Kadri was 64% in the faceoff dot and two that were critical in the Avs goals. 

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“It’s a big part of the game, faceoffs on the power play, you know if they win and clear, that’s 20 seconds off,” said Rantanen. 

Today we saw Nathan MacKinnon drop the gloves after Rantanen took a hit up high. While not many are a fan of the superstar dropping the gloves, it sparked two goals from the team as he was in the box. 

“He’s a competitor and he didn’t like it,” said Bednar, “He sticks up for his teammate, I’ve come to expect that from him.”

The Avs will have to shake this one off as they head to Calgary to take on the 40-17-8 Flames, in what always seem like intense, physical and emotional games between the two.

Thoughts and Observations : 

  • The Denver Pioneers and Minnesota Gopher are headed to the Frozen Four. 
  • Avs were missing something today. A spark, pep in their step, just something. 
  • It’s still weird to see Marc-Andre Fleury in a Wild jersey. Something I might not ever get used to.
  • The Avs had 42 shots on net. Hard to say it was a bad game and Talbot made some key saves. 
  • Do the Avs “make” opposing goalies hot? Hear me out, Talbot was great tonight but early on in the game when you are just getting pucks on net, it seems to build the confidence for the other goalie. 
  • I don’t like the call on EJ but I also don’t like the hit from EJ. 
  • Avs are brutal when down a man in OT. Ouch.
  • In all seriousness, what is a Wild? I’ve seen the jokes, the signs but I have never seen the answer. Help a sista out. 
  • Nazem Kadri seems to be picking it up again, not that he was ever in a slump. 8 points in his last 5 games.
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Many people outside of Colorado don’t realize this, but the Avalanche would and in fact should be undefeated if it weren’t for the referees always picking on them.

Adrian Dater

That wouldn’t be sarcasm would it, Anybodys?


Aside from Kiprasov, the Avs are vastly superior in true hockey talent, but the NHL sure likes to even things by swallowing the whistles and making some soft calls. And wasn’t Dumba’s hit on Mikko a bit high… sure looked like a hit to the head.


Absolute brain dead and unnecessary hit by E.J. on Jost. That cost the Avs the game. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen in the playoffs.

Donald Victory

Jost suckered EJ into that retarded penalty. Hopefully a veteran player like EJ realizes his days are numbered and his stupidity equals Kadri and Landeskog from time to time.


I don’t want to be too hard on EJ, but I feel like this third period exemplifies what over the course of his career has been one of EJ’s biggest problems – he is not always using his size as effectively as he could. I mean do you really need to run over Jost with 30 seconds to go rather than using your size advantage to pin good old Josty against the boards? Even the “soft” interference call earlier..surely, he can handle that smarter. Frustrating loss. But it’s better to lose these games now than in the playoffs. Btw…another Wild/Avs… Read more »


Of all players, Jost would be one of the easiest to pin against the boards. I have no problem being hard on E.J. because these are the types of plays that lose games. It’s totally inexcusable and dumb hockey. Especially with 30 seconds left in the third period. It shows a careless attitude and lack of situational awareness.


…which is I think what has plagued him throughout his career. In my opinion, it’s that lack of situational awareness that has also made him more injury-prone than others because he gets himself into compromising situations when perhaps he doesn’t need to. It’s as if in his case, his size sometimes serves him as a disadvantage.

Bob Neal

I thought that was a stupid play by EJ and don’t blame the ref for making the call. Our fans worry too much about intentionally getting bad reffing calls. I was appalled by Riker’s take that it was a totally blown call. On a more important note, when is Bedsie going to do something about Greenway running people? An absolute cheap shot on Makar by him after another cheap shot earlier in that shift. At least Dumba stands up (or falls down) for his antics.

Donald Victory

Is Bednar intelligent enough to adjust the team on the fly? Three consecutive failures seems to indicate no.

Matt Briggle

Good write up Kelsey. For the record, I have no idea what a Wild is and I went to college in Minnesota. Granted it was in that down time between North Stars and Wild, but still no clue. I am currently working on the theory that back up goalies are Avalanche Kryptonite. They seem to make them all look like Vezina candidates. Yes, the EJ hit on Jost was unnecessary and yes, it was a soft call especially in a tied game with 25 seconds left. My biggest problem with it though was the decision to even be in that… Read more »


talbot was an all star and has the hottest win streak in the NHL. they arguably have the best goalie tandem in the league rn. talbot isn’t a backup. irony here is that kemper used to be the wild’s backup tender.

Last edited 7 months ago by noah

The refs? Come on there were just as many no calls on both sides. The penalty at the end of the 3rd was a cross check into the boards. It’s going to be called. Also the wild looked sluggish at times because they just played and OT game the night before, so not surprising. More surprising is how the Ava couldn’t take advantage of the wild sluggishness in a back-to-back.

Karl Keen

We outplayed them and until the last 9 minutes the of the game played sound, fundamental hockey. The concern is we took the lead with all of the momentum and gave it right back three minutes later. The Avs are showing a penchant on being unable to keep a 1 goal lead. I felt that EJ committed a penalty, but that is Jost, soft as jelly. Would have been nice to see Kuemper make a save in OT, but we couldn’t even do that. What happens on Tuesday against Calgary will tell me a lot about this team’s ability to… Read more »

Richard Trujillo

Avs are once again struggling when it comes to these playoff type games. These low scoring, not a lot of room on the ice, physically tough games are not going their way.

I have more faith that this team will win if they get down by two goals early than a game that goes coast to coast with a score of 1 to 1 or 0 to 0.


We have to remember that the Avs have a big lead in the conference and other teams are fighting for position. You’re right about low scoring games but I believe the Avs are much better positioned compared to last year for this style of play. Let’s see how we look when the Captain returns. And, whenever Lehkonen can play as he is an excellent penalty killer. Landy is an absolute stud in physical games and a big presence in the front of the net in getting the “dirty, hard working goals.”

Richard Trujillo

Those guys, Landeskog for sure, will make a difference when they are on the ice.

My biggest concern is do they have the man between the pipes who can make the save in a low scoring game that he isn’t supposed to? Can Kuemper steal not just a game but an entire series? Time will tell and I can’t wait for the playoffs.


Technically what EJ did was legal. He wasn’t the cause of Jost going into the wall and he didn’t cross check, and if that play gets called, ever, it is never more than once every other month, if even that much. It was a good play by EJ and just another horrendous call by the refs in a night of awful calls, and a bunch of missed calls, two of which led to Wild goals


It was a clear, double cross check to Jost’s back. The main point is that it was unnecessary and at that late stage of the game, not worth the risk. We can complain about the referees calls all night long but you have to control what you can control. The focus should be on brain dead plays like these that can cost you in the playoffs. E.J. needs more situational awareness and the Avs, as a team, should focus on a more disciplined approach. Don’t get into a situation where the referees can decide the outcome of a game, forcing… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by ricoflashback

#1 that penalty on Johnson would have drawn a suspension earlier in the year, it was a stupid play and could have hurt Jost. It absolutely should be penalized. #2 the “Wild” refers to wilderness, and all the wild animals in northern MN. We’re still making that stupid observation that there isn’t a single animal or object that the team is named for after 21+ years of the Wild’s existence? Can we just bury the horse already instead of exhuming it and kicking it? Hope you’re all ready for an early exit like the Avalanche are good for. But I’m… Read more »


Nobody said that it wasn’t a penalty, doofus! Other than that, I can’t wait for the Avs to play the Wild in the PlayOffs. We clearly got a score to settle with your side.


“Still, it also could have been argued that Johnson was just penalized for being bigger than Jost. It was a borderline call in a third period and overtime that all went the way of the Wild.”
Seems like that direct quote of the article was strongly suggesting that it shouldn’t have been called a penalty. Did you read it or just go to the comments so you could puff out your chest and argue. Although I don’t blame you for skipping it, it was some grade F garbage.


I understand not liking a team and I totally get disagreeing with points made in a sports report article or certainly comments section. What I am never able to understand is the insistence of people like Avsuck here to just be a completely rude piece of trash human over any of those things. Dude, turn off hockey and go get some anger management counseling or something.


It’s pronounced “Mild”.

Doesn't Matter

You are a bunch of whiners. You got away with calls in the last meeting and now you say we lost because a cross check minor was called at a bad time. I can’t wait for the Wild to show your soft undisciplined team to the eixt in the playoffs..

Donald Victory

The real issue is the Avs rarely hit and rarely hit back. They had plenty of opportunity to hammer Wild players and Dumbass too but did not. Sure MacKinnon danced but not the same message or potential for damage.

Last edited 7 months ago by Donald Victory
Doesn't Matter

Then why didn’t they hit? Aves will be out first round….

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