Liveblogging the Wild: Wild lose game one 3-2 to Avalanche
Tonight's game is sure to be exciting. I expect some vengeance to be meted out for the cheapshots against Marian Gaborik last time they faced each other . The cowardly Colorado team waited till all the Wild's tough guys were off the ice to provoke Gabby, resulting in his first fighting major and a bloody hand. Derek Boogaard promises it'll be a much different story when he's out policing the ice: "Obviously I'm going to be playing in the first game," said Boogaard, who was scratched Sunday. "We'll see if somebody has a problem then." I'll be blogging the game as it happens, so expect new content to pop up after each period of play.
1st Period What a physical period. Running into Boogaard is like running into a brick wall. Sign in the crowd: "Laperriere: Aren't you too old to be afraid of the Boogeyman?" It looked like Mikko Koivu tackled the goalie, but he was pushed into the net from behind. The Wild send out Boogaard to keep everybody honest. I will be highly surprised if we don't see a fight in this game--it's badly needed to settle emotions and defuse some of the brewing tension on the ice. The Wild is giving better than they get--12 hits compared to 7 for the Avs. This, along with two power plays, gave the Wild a lot of room to take some pretty nifty shots. Even though the score remains tied as zero, the Wild are clearly dominating--the shot differential is Wild 11, Avs 2. I'll be back after the second period. There will be blood.
2nd Period The Wild continue to have great opportunities, but they just can't light the lamp. The bad blood was evident as soon as the period began, with Brent Burns crosschecking Peter Forsberg after getting slashed. Ruslan Salei shoves Mark Parrish into the boards shoulder first, and though it didn't draw a penalty, there was clearly menace behind it. Parrish is still lying on the ice after the commercial break, which isn't a good sign. The Wild continue to look impotent on power plays. Brian Rolston has a great slapper and Boogaard has a second chance in the crease, but the puck just won't settle down and go into the net. The Wild look a bit lost on defense. Ryan Smyth gets a crazy deflection and the puck tumbles like a knuckleball into the upper left corner of the net. Avs 2, Wild 0. There's 18,000+ in attendance and you can hear a pin drop. It's been a demoralizing period. If I was Coach Jacques Lemaire, I'd start the third period by sending Boogey out to beat Ian Laperriere's ass and light a fire under the crowd.
3rd Period The towels everybody's waving say, "Fight to the end," and this period the Wild lived up to that motto. Coming into the period down by two, the play is still physical with Todd Fedoruk steamrolling Jeff Finger. Koivu takes a shot that deflects off Finger's skate and into the goal! That's what we needed. The crowd is waving the rally towel and it's a one-point game. Scott Hannan delivers a left hook to James Sheppard--if it weren't the playoffs, there'd have been several fights already. Fedoruk is parked in front of the goal gets the feed, makes a quick move and backhands the puck into the net! Damn, when did T-Fed become a scoring threat? This is his first career playoff goal and it couldn't have come at a better time. The refs overlook an obvious trip and its becoming increasingly obvious that they're going to let the players police the ice. Forsberg throws a few jabs at Burns--I expect these two to tussle at some point this series. The Avs appear to score but on review it's clear the player kicked it into the goal with his instep. Disaster! At 2:27, Keith Carney reaches out to smother the puck in the crease and the refs call for a penalty shot. Ryan Smyth takes it down the ice and ... Backstrom stones him! Huge stop. Backstrom may not be the Dyson-like netminder he was last season around this time, but he's making plays when it counts. The Avs have several more opportunities but fail to capitalize. We're going to overtime!
The O.T. We're giving the Avs way to many shots on goal, playing a dangerous game. Burns gets a nice shot on a great move that he uses in the shootout but can't get it past the pads. Pavol Demitra is charging down the ice with Gaborik but the pass gets stuffed. Joe Sakic gets a rebound, he shoots, he scores! It's over. Wild lose a hard-fought game. Although the loss is deflating, there's a moral victory in coming back from a 2-0 deficit to make the Avs earn it in overtime. This is going to be a great series. We'll get 'em Friday.
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