Saturday, April 12, 2008

WRT: Fit to be Tied...Game 2 Avs vs. Wild

OK, sleepy people (or hungover, depending on age and employment status).

We have ourselves a series! A gut-bustin', mother-lovin' real playoff series!

Keith Carney's OT goal 1:14 into OT off the skate of Colorado's Ruslan Salei allowed the Minnesota Wild to even their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Avalanche at one-game each with a 3-2 OT win at Xcel Energy Center Friday night.

Carney's goal sent the overflow crowd of 19,360 into the night with chants of "Let's Go Wild!!" roaring thru their heads. Such was almost not meant to be as two goals were scored in the last two nminutes of regulation time, the second Colorado goal coming just 51 seconds away from the end of game time, after a cheap holding penalty against Minnesota'a Kim Johnsson (who was called for a hold against Ryan Smith of the Avs, while Smith was doing his best 'Divealanche' imitation of teammate Peter Forsberg) was assessed.

Mikko Koivu sent what was otherwise a somewhat weak shot past Avs goalie Jose Theodore with 1:51 left on the game clock to put the Wild seemingly in front for good.

Forsberg (a.k.a. 'Floppa') started the scoring late in the first as he banked a shot off the crossbar and into the net, folling Wild goalie Nik Backstrom in the process. It was the first goal of the series for Forsberg.

Pavol Demitra scored early in the third period on the power-play for the Wild, who now travel to Denver for a Monday night matchup in Game 3 (9 PM CDT, 8 PM MDT: KSTC-45, Altitude TV) which will be very interesting, to say the least.

The Wild are now 4-8 all time at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (.333).

We managed to find the assembled multitude being dragged out after the game. They enjoyed themselves so much they didn't want to go home. We asked 'em before they were punted across the street into Rice Park:

Chicken Little says: All's fair in love and war. This sure wasn't love tonight. This was war. Now we have to go to Denver and wage it there.

Pollyanna says: True, we have to play like we did tonight, but we knew the boys had it in 'em. Just keep doing it like that and the Wild advance.

Bottom Line: Wild had to have tonight's game. Forsberg almost took it away from them single-handedly. Only some excellent defensive work and timely puck luck pulled this one out. The luck you can control with hard work. The Wild need to do more of it to win out this series.

Stud: I never thought I'd say this (especially those of you who read me on the Russo Rants blog at StarTribune. com):

MARTIN SKOULA. That's right, folks. 'Bad Marty' became 'Super Marty' tonight. he was all over the place -- in control, making the right play, blocking shots, checking (REALLY checking, not just stop and let their guy hit you checking). Good puck handling, not being out of position, the guy really looked like he was All-World out there. One time in the third period he stopped Milan Hedjuk cold on a lone rush in his tracks. Is this the start of the Martin Skoula contract drive?

Dud: Marian Gaborik. For what this guy has done -- and what this guy CAN do -- he has effectively been shut down as much by his own bad positioning as by anything the Avs threw at him. He should have scored 2-3 goals tonight had he been in the right place when the puck came thru. No such luck.

Sleep tight, blog fans. Your Wild are back in it, for now.


Anonymous said...

Do you ever wonder if they actually practice diving out in Colorado? I have this mental image in my head of the Avs trainers shouting "Fall down now!!!" during practice.

Damnit, we would be owning this series if it wasn't for bad luck on the blue line with Foster and Schultz!!!

Jon Marthaler said...

Anonymous - they don't call them the "Divealanche" for nothing.

Sleepy? How about "too wired to sleep after that game?"

maggie said...

I found myself cheering for Skoula when he made some great poke checks and some other great plays (ie using his skate to push the puck forward, plowing down a player into the boards). My mom asked me "Maggie, you know you're cheering for Skoula, right?

I like it when he does his job.

Anonymous said...

Jon: 'too wired to sleep' is what should happen after the Wild win at least one of the next two in Denver to bring the series back to St. Paul no worse than 2-2. Then it's a best-of-3 with 2 of them at home.

Maggie: What's wrong with Mom? She doesn't watch hockey when you do? She should!


elise said...

Chants of "Let's Go Wild" were not just in their heads. Walking back to my car after the game, people were shouting it to anyone they saw. (There's a chance I participated in the random shouting, but we won't get into that.)

maggie said...

WRT- She watches every game with me, actually. Mainly for Rolston and to tell me whenever Koivu is on the ice (not like I can't see that otherwise).

She knows nothing about hockey, so she likes to tell everyone that I know everything about it because that's just how she is.

WRT - Wild Road Tripper said...

Maggie: Don't you just LOVE Moms? She'll take these memories to the grave with her. Enjoy it while you can!

Elise: My ears were still ringing Saturday afternoon from Friday night...