Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Game Six Thoughts (Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One)

Final Score: Colorado Avalanche – 2 Minnesota Wild – 5 (Series Tied 3-3)

*This game started like the other two games in Minnesota, with the Wild flat out dominating the Avalanche. They scored 49 seconds into the game on a power play and then added another one halfway through the period.

*The second goal given up by Varlamov was very weak by his standards. It came on the rush by Mikael Granlund and went right between his legs. That’s one he definitely would want back, especially given the situation.

*The Wild got a 5-on-3 advantage with about five minutes left in the period and a chance to pretty much end this game.

*Instead, the momentum changed. Not only did the Avs kill it off, but at the end of the 5-on-3, Ryan O’Reilly intercepted a weak shot and then sprung Paul Stastny, just coming out of the box, on a break away. Stastny made no mistake on the shot and cut the lead in half.

*This game could’ve been 2-0 or 3-0 for the Wild after one, but the 5-on-3 kill and Stastny’s shorthanded goal made it a one goal game heading into the locker room.

*In the second period, the Avs power play finally showed up. Matt Duchene, playing his first game in almost a month, made a nice no look pass to Ryan O’Reilly, who found Nick Holden back door for the game-tying goal.

*The Avs dominated the second period, outshooting the Wild 14-6 and coming up with a number of good chances. Unfortunately, it only resulted in one goal.

*With the teams tied heading into the third, whatever the Avs did right in the second period, changed. After a failed power play early, that so Darcy Kuemper make a big save on Jamie McGinn and then McGinn miss on the rebound, the Avs just stop skating and started getting careless.

*Minnesota had the Avs on their heels from there on out and broke the even score after a weak clearing attempt by Jan Hejda, which led to a shot from the point by Mikko Kiovu and a tip in front by Zach Parise, which was his second goal of the game.

*Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov with 2:44 left but this time Minnesota cashed in on the empty net this time, potting two goals to make the score look like this game wasn’t as close as it actually was.

*There were some post-game activities in this one involving Cody McLeod, Patrick Bordeleau, Clayton Stoner, and Nate Prosser. I doubt suspensions will be coming, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on in game seven.

*The Avs finished the 3rd period with three shots. That’s not exactly the best way to win a hockey game.

*As mentioned, Duchene returned tonight and he looked as good as ever. He started the game with Brad Malone and Max Talbot, which rendered him pretty much ineffective, but once Roy moved him back with O’Reilly and P.A. Parenteau, you could tell that he was as close to 100% as he’s going to be right now. His timing was a little off, which was to be expected, but he showed that he’s going to be a problem in game seven.

*Nathan MacKinnon-Paul Stastny-Gabriel Landeskog were once again bottled up. Stastny got a goal, but that came shorthanded and not with his usual running mates. MacKinnon had one good chance with his speed, but ended up missing the net with his shot.

*Gotta give a lot of credit to Minnesota’s checking line of Charlie Coyle-Eric Haula-Nino Niederreiter for the job they’ve done against the Avs top line on the road.

*Minnesota paid a lot of money for Parise and Ryan Suter for games like this. They played huge tonight.

*I’ll say it again: Stefan Elliott needs to play in this series. Since he’s likely a part of the future, give him the experience now and scratch Ryan Wilson or Nate Guenin, who aren’t long for this team. Guenin has been completely invisible in this series and Wilson hasn’t been too much better.

*And, once again, Jan Hejda wasn’t good either. His weak clear led to the Minnesota game winner. He just seems to rush himself when he’s pressured and Minnesota’s forecheck has done a very good job of pressuring him in this series.

*Hejda has been a minus in every game this series except game two. That’s not what you need from your supposed “shut down defenseman.”

*O’Reilly continues to be the most consistent Avalanche player. He’s not putting up crazy numbers like MacKinnon, but he’s contributing offensively and always making the smart play.

*Game Seven on Wednesday should be crazy. We’ll have a full preview of the game on Wednesday morning.

Game Seven: vs. Minnesota Wild on Wednesday

Tags: Colorado Avalanche

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