The Minnesota Wild played more of their style of game on home ice, and it worked for them as they shut down the Avalanche’s run and gun tempo, holding stars like Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny in check beating them 1-0 in overtime.
Mikael Granlund‘s highlight reel goal 5:08 into overtime was the only puck to beat a goalie and the posts as the Wild peppered Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov with shot after shot. Granlund weaved out of traffic along the side boards and somehow slipped through the slot and as he was being tripped down managed to slide the puck past a sprawling Varlamov for the game’s first and only goal. He was aided by Zach Parise, who was discreetly holding onto the stick of Avs defender Erik Johnson, who was the last man to have a chance to stop Granlund.
Darcy Kuemper got the shutout for the Wild, making 22 saves in his first career playoff start. The Wild put that many shots on Varlamov in the first period alone, and hit the post on a couple of occasions as well, most notably Charlie Coyle on a semi-breakaway. It took the 46th shot on goal for the Wild to beat Varlamov.
The highlight reel goal by Granlund took a bit of the spotlight away from teammate Matt Cooke, whose deliberate looking knee to knee hit knocked Avalanche defender Tyson Barrie out of the game and reportedly 4-6 weeks with an MCL injury. It was Cooke’s 100th career playoff game, and could be the last one for a while as he was offered an in-person hearing with the NHL disciplinary committee which could mean a suspension of longer than 5 games. However, the play was only given a minor penalty, when a major was warranted and could have changed momentum of the game.
The teams will get an extra day off, as Game 4 will go Thursday night in Minnesota.