Equalizer

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Avalanche @ Wild – Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 2 – View from All Over My Living Room
Don’t know where to start. So many emotional swings. In a game that had more drama than game 1, the Wild beat Colorado 3-2 in another overtime thriller. Keith Carney scored the winner off an Avs skate just over a minute into OT. It was a great goal for the old guy; you gotta feel good for him.

It was a frustrating game through 2 periods. It was either an excellent forecheck or just Wild jitters that gave them trouble getting out of their own zone. They seemed to get caught up in the emotion in the 1st, after some bodies went flying, a stick went flying into the stands, they were caught watching Peter Forsberg skate through the slot and wrist one by Niklas Backstrom (Martin Skoula had an opportunity to get it off his stick but he didn’t go for it). In the 2nd, Mikko Koivu/Aaron Voros and Marian Gaborik hit 2 posts 15 seconds within each other, and the puck hopped Pavol Demitra’s stick just as the period expired.

But the Wild were able to carry a powerplay and the momentum into the 3rd, and Demo tied it on a nice slapper from the left circle. Play went back and forth until the 18:30 mark, where Koivu fired one from just inside the blue line to give the Wild the lead. The crowd was bonkers. I was bonkers. Looked like we were going to Denver tied at 1. The Avalanche brought the pressure tho, and Kin Johnsson had to hook Ryan Smyth with a minute to go. On a 6 on 4 powerplay with the goalie pulled, the Avs were able to tie it on one that seemed to have eyes deflecting off Milan Hedjuk. So we go to OT.

Fittingly, it was a great forecheck that got the Wild the opportunity to win it. Brian Rolston, Mikko Koivu, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard were able to turn the puck over in the offensive zone. Koivu kept the puck while fending off Joe Sakic, and fed it to PMB on the sideboards. PMB tried to center to Rolston, but it deflected back to the sideboards, where Carney had pinched. He fired towards the net, and it deflected off Ruslan Salei’s skate, and the Xcel Energy Center crowd goes home ecstatic – and I breathe again.

Jots

  • I don’t know if it was jitters, bad ice, or what, but the Wild just seemed to be clutching their sticks a bit too much. They would overskate the puck, fan on shots, pass too hard. Trying a bit too hard to win the game with one fantastic play.
  • Man the D looks tired. Carney and Burns looked like they were going to pass out in their post game interviews.
  • Niklas Backstrom was absolutely stellar in net tonite. He stopped a handful of glorious scoring chances and was positionally sound all nite. I couldn’t count how many times the D came up and gave him a tap on the pads for bailing them out.
  • Mikko Koivu is a stud.
  • Peter Forsberg is really hitting stride. Gotta find a way to shut him down, and Brent Burns’ xtra work on him in the 2nd was a nice start.
  • I do not like Wild play-by-play guy Dan Terhaar as a play-by-play guy, but his voice cracking on the game winning call was classic. If the Wild win the Cup, I will hang a poster-size print of him on my wall…right next to all my other Wild prints. I think it would look great right between the 8x10s of me with the Cup and my wife with Matt Johnson.
  • Great job to FSN-HD tonite. The game was visually pretty and it added a ton to the game experience at home tonite.
  • I almost forgot to mention the karma I experienced tonite. After the 2nd period, in frustration, I switched jerseys – from the green to the white – and it paid off. Needless to say I’ll be wearing the white Monday.

Fight to Bring the Cup to St. Paul
The win ties the series 1-1, with the series now shifting to Denver. We’re now 15 wins from Lord Stanley’s arrival. And there will officially be a game 5 in this series. Sweet for me and whoever winds up going with me.

Next on the Docket – Wild @ Avalanche – Mon 4-14-08
Hoping the Wild can carry a little momentum into the next game. The extra day off should be good for resting our tired D-men, as well as a banged up Branko Radivojevic. Ever the optimist (at least before the game starts) I say Wild 2 Avs 1.

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