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  • 3/13 RECAP: Wild Actually Lose a Game in St. Paul, Fall 5-1 to Colorado

    Heather Rule

    It’s the year where the Minnesota Wild crumble against their longtime –rival, the Colorado Avalanche. The latest bit of evidence for this 2017-18 case file was a 5-1 Wild loss in St. Paul.


    JT Compher scored a pair of goals for Colorado, a team that also scored two power-play goals (2-for-3) with their poorly-ranked power play. Colorado (37-24-8) takes the season series 3-0-1 and outscored the Wild 21-6 with 7-2, 7-1 and 5-1 victories.


    This loss comes on the heels of the Wild’s 4-1 defeat in Edmonton.



    “Very disappointing,” said Zach Parise. “No other way to put it.”


    Devan Dubnyk was in net to get tagged for the three losses, while Alex Stalock tended goal in the 3-2 shootout victory back in November.


    The Wild, a solid home team with a 24-6-6 record, lost their first game at home in regulation since a 5-2 loss to Washington on Feb. 15.


    Tuesday’s game started out with a typical hockey script that happens in the first period. The Wild (39-24-7) were the dominant team. They were buzzing and all over the Colorado offensive zone. They had the scoring chances and outshot the Avalanche 12-5 in the first 20 minutes.


    But they trailed 1-0 at the first break.


    Compher scored his first goal in 17 games with a high shot over Dubnyk’s shoulder at the 16:22 mark of the first period. It only takes one shot to get on the board; it didn’t matter how bad the shots-on-goal disadvantage was for Colorado.


    The Wild tied it up in the second period off a two-on-one rush with a pass from Charlie Coyle to Mikko Koivu for a pretty goal. It was goal No. 13 for Koivu on the 13th day of the month. Call it a belated birthday present from Coyle to Koivu; the captain turned 35 on Monday.


    The excitement for the Wild was short-lived, however. Colorado grabbed the lead back just 59 seconds later with a goal from Nikita Zadorov. The Wild had some kind of defensive breakdown during the 4-on-4 shift within their own zone, coughing the puck up to a left-alone Zadorov in the high slot.


    Starting the third period, the Wild were down just 2-1. No big deal, right? Well, that deficit turned into a two-goal margin just 11 seconds into the third when (who else?) Nathan MacKinnon got past Koivu and scored his 33rd of the season with a shot through the five-hole. That was just too easy, and probably a puck Dubnyk would like to have back.


    The Wild had their chances throughout the night. Matt Dumba hit a post on a third-period power play with more than 14 minutes left in the game. They just couldn’t capitalize and finish the chances to get themselves back in the game.


    Poor Parise couldn’t cash in – despite his best chance of the night in the third. With a MacKinnon turnover, Coyle and Parise created a two-on-one rush that looked like a carbon copy of the Coyle-Koivu goal. The only difference? Parise hit the pipe. He had a team-high seven shots on goal.


    The would-be goal would have made it a 3-2 game. Colorado has already allowed 12 shorthanded goals this season, the most in the NHL.


    Instead, a few minutes later Compher scored his second of the game. The shot came off a rebound when he was on his knees to make it a 4-1 game. The Wild challenged for goaltender interference, but it was confirmed to be a good goal on the power play. Colorado’s road power play came in ranked 26th in the league, by the way.


    Tyson Jost scored the other power-play tally for the Avalanche with 1:21 left in the game to add to the Wild’s misery.


    The Wild outshot the Avalanche 34-22 in the game.


    Unfortunately, the Wild had some injury issues within the game, too.



    Jason Zucker went hard to the net in the first period and appeared to take a two-handed slash to the hands. Zucker missed the rest of the period but returned to start the second. However, he looked to be playing gingerly with his injured hand/wrist.


    Jared Spurgeon went into the boards awkwardly (read: doing the splits) when going after a puck early in the third period. He had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel. He did not return. Spurgeon is one point away from tying his career-high in points for a season with 38.



    “We do know it’s not a knee or an ankle,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “It’s a lower-body. We’ll know more probably tomorrow.”


    In goal:

    Dubnyk (30-14-5) with 17 saves on 22 shots. Semyon Varlamov (19-13-6) with 33 saves on 34 shots.


    Dubnyk is 0-2 in games where he’s had a chance to get his 200th career victory.

    Nick Seeler returned to game action after missing three games with a right biceps strain. He recorded a hit and a blocked shot in 12:06 of ice time.

    MacKinnon has four goals, five assists and nine points against the Wild in four games this season.

    The Wild went 0 for 4 on the power play.

    Up next:


    The Wild head out on the road for their first-ever visit to Vegas as they face the Golden Knights on Friday night. They’ll play back-to-back nights with a game Saturday in Arizona.






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