Recap: Minnesota Wild lifeless in 4-1 loss to Colorado Avalanche

You can attribute it to the absence of some significant players in Mats Zuccarello, Alex Goligoski and Jordan Greenway; but the Minnesota Wild played a pretty crappy game against an opponent in the Colorado Avalanche who are too talented to try to smuggle a sleeper win past them.

Sometimes they’ve shot themselves in the foot – taken some really stupid penalties or not sent pucks anywhere near their teammates because they wanted to get it quick – but in the end it’s just about a team that just didn’t have a good hockey game night. A very sleepy game that just got bored with both feet until the end. No real exciting chances, just a couple of lazy chipped pucks sent towards the keeper, some of which end up in the back of the net.

During their second straight power play opportunity – the Avs taking two stupid penalties back-to-back – the Wild were able to equalize after Colorado scored the first goal. It was Minnesota’s fifth goal this season, which seems impossible.

And since Hartman was the scorer, he took the lead as Minnesota’s top scorer with four goals.

Unfortunately for the Wild, Colorado was quick to respond – Erik Johnson scored just 40 seconds later after a mad scramble and a powerful displacement from Nathan MacKinnon. It was that goal that really showed the true colors of the Avalanche as a team that can suddenly regain the lead without really putting up a fight. Ability in any position; scoring ability anywhere on the ice; and all of them can be damn mean to get those chances.

The sparks started flying in the final frame after Brandon Duhaime counter-checked Bowen Byram dangerously.

MacKinnon defends his teammate who was knocked face first onto the boards, drops the gloves and he and Duhaime continue. This is considered a fight. Anyone can see that this is a bare-glove fight with two willing partners, even if it only lasts a few seconds.

Well, the officials didn’t see it that way and challenged Duhaime for the five-minute major – which he deserved – but then added a two-minute minor for each rough, allowing the Avs’ best player to be back on the ice for the last three minutes the man advantage.

As it turned out, they didn’t need the referees’ cheating as they doubled their lead just seconds after Nazem Kadri scored.

The Wild seemed to pick up some steam after that, but it all turned out to be for naught in the end. Colorado scores the empty net and he just runs away into the sunset, hopefully never seen again.

I really hope we never see this version of the savage offense again. Instead of going for their typical “don’t shoot the puck until you can basically see how many freckles there are on the opposing goalie’s nose,” they settle on the left faceoff spot to make a very predictable and readable number of to score shots.

If you’re making most of your attempts from the point – and not even in the middle, the bad and terribly deterrent left – while your competition is pounding the puck right in front of your goaltender, then you’re bound to lose that hockey game most of the time.

Kudos to the Avalanche for not letting anyone come within feet of Kuemper.

After all, the Savages finished this one with 52.58 percent shot attempt percentage and just 46.44 percent expected goal percentage in 5-on-5. They just couldn’t capitalize on those slightly off-center underlying numbers.

Next up are the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. This should be either very funny or awful.

Burning Questions

Can Adam Beckman prove he belongs here – forever?

With Beckman, it’s really hard to determine whether he’s sticking around or not. He did throw off decent shots throughout the game, but most of them landed in the midfield area that actually posed no threat to Avalanche goalkeeper Kümper. It’s tough.

The Wild can certainly use shooters and achieve that depth-scoring potential, but once people return from injury or COVID protocol, the typical full-time Grimy players (Beckman can do that too, but to a lesser extent) will most likely become this one Reach bottom -six rolls.

It makes sense that he’s staying up though, he’s made some clear defensive plays and kept the Wilds competitive while he’s down by several goals, but it’s just a question of whether management thinks it’s good for Beckman’s development playing 10-12 minutes in the NHL is better than being a top-line guy in the AHL.

Cool.

Can the defense lock up Nate Mac?

Uh, well, no. MacKinnon just seemed to be everywhere; constantly involved in the game, whether it was a scrum after the final whistle, setting up his teammates for goals that broke the stalemate, or just creating scoring chances out of his butt. He was himself.

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