Jess Myers / Sports Xchange, Published April 21 2014
VIDEO: Granlund's overtime goal propels Wild to playoff win
Frustrated by Colorado Avalanche goalie Seymon Varlamov for 65 minutes, Granlund heeded Edison’s old lesson about not giving up and “trying just one more time,” then illuminated the red goal light for his team.
Granlund scored the only goal of the game 5 minutes, 8 seconds into overtime as the Wild beat the Avalanche 1-0 in Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference first-round series.
After a pass from right winger Jason Pominville, Granlund cut across the front of the Colorado net and slapped his own rebound past Varlamov as the Wild, after losing the first two games of the series in Colorado, pulled back within a game.
Granlund, who was hit repeatedly throughout the game, showed a resilience with which Minnesota coach Mike Yeo is very familiar.
“He’s used to being a target, and he’s used to being the center of attention since he was a young kid,” Yeo said. “He’s on a different stage now, but that’s how he’s grown up and that’s what he’s used to. Guys like that often find the right time to make big plays.”
Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper, making his first career playoff start, had a 22-save shutout for the Wild, who dominated throughout the game but could not get a shot past Varlamov until the extra session.
Varlamov had 45 saves for the Avalanche.
“Credit to us and to Varly for sticking to what we had to do,” Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. “For the most part, we let Varly see everything and took care of second and third opportunities. They were shooting from everywhere. So credit to them, they played well. We’re still playing with house money here in the series, up 2-1, and we’ll bring our game on Thursday.”
Colorado had the only power play of the first period but nothing to show for it in a scoreless 20 minutes dominated by Minnesota everywhere except on the scoreboard.
The Wild launched 22 shots at Varlamov – a franchise record for a playoff game and one shy of Minnesota’s all-time record. One that did not count as a shot on goal was perhaps Minnesota’s best scoring chance, when center Charlie Coyle hit the right post in the final minute of the period.
The second period was scoreless as well, as the Avalanche managed just seven shots on goal despite having a trio of power plays in the period. Part of their trouble came from injuries.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie was lost for the game early in the second period after a knee-on-knee hit with Minnesota left winger Matt Cooke, who was given a minor penalty on the play. Colorado coach Patrick Roy later said Barrie suffered a MCL injury and will be out four to six weeks. Roy expects Cooke to be disciplined by the NHL.
“I think it’s the play of the game. Knee on Tyson Barrie is without a doubt the play of the game,” Roy said. “We lost our best offensive defenseman. I think it could have been a five-minute major, been out of the game. Plus, I think it would’ve broke their momentum. There’s a key moment in those games. And now we believe that the league will make the right call.”
Later in the period, Colorado lost defenseman Andre Benoit after he was run hard into the boards by Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter. Left winger Patrick Bordeleau left the ice after being slashed by Niederreiter. Both Benoit and Bordeleau returned later in the second.