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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. 

“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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