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.