In the final home game of the season for the Colorado Avalanche, they started out just like they did in the first home game of the season when the Dallas Stars scored on their first shift of the season when the Minnesota Wild repeated the feat, scoring just ten seconds into the contest when Jason Zucker won a puck battle with Avs goaltender Calvin Pickard and wrapped around the net and put the puck into an empty net for the 1-0 lead.
The two teams took their dislike through the next 14 minutes without incident but a failed clear by Tyson Jost landed on the stick of Charlie Coyle, who found Nate Prosser back at the blueline. Prosser’s soft wrist shot from the point was about precision as it found its way through some traffic in front and beat Pickard high on the glove side, giving the Wild a 2-0 lead heading into the game’s first intermission.
The second period looked a lot like the rivalry of the last few years as the intensity picked up significantly and the Avalanche began pushing back against their playoff-bound opponent. Colorado got their own scoring started when Gabriel Landeskog broke into the offensive zone and passed the puck through to Rocco Grimaldi who found Tyson Jost. The rookie in his fourth NHL game made no mistake in roofing the puck past Devan Dubnyk, cutting the lead to 2-1.
That lead disappeared entirely about ten minutes after Jost’s first NHL goal when a won faceoff by the Avalanche saw Francois Beauchemin carry the puck down the wall and fire a soft wrist shot on goal. Dubnyk, screened badly by Rene Bourque, didn’t react like he saw the puck and it found its way home for the 2-2 tie heading into the third period.
The game’s final frame started off with the Wild retaking the lead on a great offensive sequence in which they cycled the Avalanche to death and Rene Bourque lost Nino Niederreiter on the backdoor and a perfect Eric Staal pass found him backdoor for the easy tap-in goal.
Minnesota wasn’t done quite yet as Mikael Granlund added to Pickard’s already impressive soft-goals-allowed total when he threw a weak wrist shot on net from a bad angle that mystifyingly fooled Pickard and made it 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Perhaps feeling pity, the Wild continued scoring but this time for the wrong team as Matt Nieto threw a relatively harmless puck towards the net and Nate Prosser laid down to block the shot and ended up accidentally deflecting it past Dubnyk to make it 4-3 with less than six minutes to play.
The Avalanche would not be denied in the end as they tied the game on a Sven Andrighetto goal that was initially not allowed. After some discussion, the goal was allowed, tying the game, until the Wild challenged it for goaltender interference and won, disallowing the goal again. The Avalanche would not score anymore and the Wild won 4-3.
1. Nino Niederreiter
2. Nate Prosser
3. Tyson Jost
PLAY OF THE GAME
Jost’s first NHL goal is the only candidate for this section.
Jost’s call brought the Pepsi Center alive on Fan Appreciation Night and injected a ton of energy into what was mostly a lethargic Avalanche team up to that point.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Avs finish the season on the road with their two final games, beginning Saturday night at Dallas.