The Colorado Avalanche can’t blame their goaltender for this loss. Semyon Varlamov was magnificent in defeat, stopping 45 of the 46 shots he faced. Without him, the Avalanche would have lost this game by three or four goals.
But the real story of this game is the onslaught by the Minnesota Wild. From start to finish they were dominant, pinning the Avalanche in their zone for long periods of time. Mikael Granlund was one of the catalysts for this game, getting multiple scoring opportunities and being a pest around the net. His overtime goal was his first career playoff goal and a huge one for the Wild.
Like I said, the Wild played an excellent game. They need to carry this momentum over to Game 4. If they don’t win that game, they are still in bad shape heading back to Colorado down 3-1 in the series. Granlund’s heroics saved the Minnesota Wild’s season, but his teammates need to pick up their offense if the Wild want to even this series. One thing that always rings true in NHL playoff hockey is that teams relying on a single player are left dead in the water if anything happens to that player.
The play of Darcy Kuemper can’t be overlooked. He was solid, making key saves when he had to, but he was not tested a lot. Granlund and the rest of the Wild’s forwards will have to keep the pressure on in Game 4 to hide the inexperience of their goaltender.