AVALANCHE WRAP: Wild Win with aid of referee calls

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

It was a strange day, with the Avs mostly outplaying the Wild and beating their odds but never quite opening the scoreboard. A penalty by Erik Johnson against Tyson Jost (remember him?) resulted in a goal from Kevin Fiala in OT’s first shift to win it for the Wild.

Well, whether the calls were soft could and will be debated, but Johnson didn’t have to make that strike with 30 seconds left in the third period. The referees made calls like that all day and if there was a chance it would be announced you have to ask yourself if the game is worth it. Johnson should have been smarter.

Still, one could have argued that Johnson was only being punished for being taller than Jost. It was a borderline call on a third period and overtime all going the way of the wild.

“If I comment too much, I get in big trouble,” said Mikko Rantanen after the game.

Coach Jared Bednar echoed the same sentiment without comment except that he didn’t think Johnson deserved it.

Rantanen scored his 33rd goal of the season and Nazem Kadri moved on in 26th as these two continue to produce while captain Gabe Landeskog recovers from knee surgery. Kadri was 64% in faceoff and two that were crucial in Avs goals.

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

Today we saw Nathan MacKinnon drop his gloves after Rantanen took a punch high up. Though not many are a fan of the superstar dropping the gloves, it sparked two goals from the team while he was in the penalty area.

“He’s a competitor and he didn’t like that,” said Bednar, “he stands up for his teammates, I expect that from him.”

The Avs will have to shrug off that game when they travel to Calgary to take on the 40-17-8 Flames in what always seems like an intense physical and emotional match between the two.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • The Denver Pioneers and Minnesota Gophers join the Frozen Four.
  • Avs was missing something today. A spark, momentum in her step, just something.
  • It’s still weird to see Marc-Andre Fleury in a Wild jersey. Something I may never get used to.
  • The Avs had 42 shots on the net. Hard to say it was a bad game and Talbot made some key saves.
  • Do the Avs “hot” opposing goalies? Listen to me Talbot was great tonight but early in the game when you’re just getting pucks in the net it seems to build confidence for the other keeper.
  • I don’t like the call to EJ, but I don’t like EJ’s hit either.
  • Avs are brutal when putting down a man in OT. Ouch.
  • Seriously, what is a wild? I’ve seen the jokes, the signs, but I’ve never seen the answer. Help a sister.
  • Nazem Kadri appears to be picking it up again, not that he’s ever been in a slump. 8 points in his last 5 games.
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