TBT: Colorado Avalanche Beat Minnesota Wild


On Sunday, March 8, 2015, the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild in the Xcel Energy Center. That may not seem like much of an accomplishment — after all, even in this disappointing season the Avalanche had 36 other wins besides that one (and hopefully a couple more to finish out the season).

However, that victory against the Minnesota Wild in Minnesota was almost a year in the making.

2014 Playoffs

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The Minnesota Wild upset the higher-seeded Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the quarter finals. The Wild eliminated the Avalanche from the playoffs at home.

That was also the series that saw the Avalanche struggle to score any goals at Xcel Energy Center. In three games in Minnesota the Avalanche managed only three goals, losing all three games.

Naturally, Game 3 of that playoff series was also when Minnesota’s Matt Cooke ended defenseman Tyson Barrie‘s season with a dirty knee-on-knee hit.

Yeah, we Avs fans hated the Minnesota Wild after that series.

Opening Games

The NHL may have flubbed other aspects of the schedule, but the schedulers did a nice job of playing on last season’s rivalries. The Avalanche were scheduled to start their season in Minnesota before coming home to host the Wild in what we all thought would be retribution.

Neither game was retribution. The Avalanche continued to struggle with scoring in Minnesota, and the Wild won an embarrassing 5-0 in the opening game.

The home opener at Pepsi Center was no better. The Avalanche were shut out again as the Wild took the game 3-0. To add insult to injury, Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson was ejected from the game after a clean hit on Wild defenseman Erik Haula — let’s just say Haula sold it well.

Our frustrated hate for the Wild grew.

Minnesota Fans

Midwesterners are renowned for being nice, friendly people. Indeed, people from Minnesota have a reputation for their pleasant demeanors.

This reputation does not extend to Minnesota Wild fans. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as a Minnesotan puts on Wild colors, he or she becomes a nightmare of a human being. (Maybe it’s the hideous nature of the colors and logo — I don’t know.)

These are people, after all, who cheered when Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov fell with an injury in Minnesota.

They’re far worse as guests in the Pepsi Center. I attended that opening night game. After Minnesota’s victory, bands of Wild fans roamed the arena actually hooting about their trouncing of the Avalanche. Remember, this was in the Avalanche’s home arena. Most other opponent fans are happy but respectful of the fact that they are guests (except for Blackhawks fans).

The worst came during the February 28, loss to the Wild in Pepsi Center. Wild fans actually started a brawl in the stands then tried to spin the situation to paint Avalanche fans as the beasts. (Full story here.)

That was also the game during which Wild forward Sean Bergenheim broke Nathan MacKinnon‘s nose. Once again, really hating the Wild and Wild fans.

March 8 Game

So, on March 8, 2015, the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 at the Xcel Energy Center. This was a passionate game during which Cody McLeod and Zach Redmond scored even-strength goals and captain Gabriel Landeskog scored a power play goal.

This game also saw McLeod face off with former Avalanche and new Wild acquisition Chris Stewart:

Ultimately, the game meant very little in the standings. The Wild have clinched a playoff berth, and the Avalanche have been mathematically eliminated.

However, this game was the retribution game for which we were all waiting. And it’s so much sweeter that it happened in their home arena.

P.S. If any Wild fans are reading this and think about crowing that the Wild are in the playoffs when the Avs are not, just know this: I won’t entertain any arguments until the Wild have one-quarter of the Stanley Cup victories our head coach earned. Hells, I’d be satisfied with a conference title.

Next: Avs Clinch 2014 Division Title

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