Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild - 4/19/14
Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm (Pepsi Center)
The Line: Colorado Avalanche -145 / Minnesota Wild +130 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The Avalanche look to build momentum from their series opening win as they host the Wild for game two in Denver.
The Wild were in complete control of their series opener with the Avalanche through the first 40 minutes but fell apart late as a goal with 13 seconds left forced overtime and it was Paul Stastny who ended things with a squeaker in overtime. Minnesota showed they won’t be taken lightly as they dominated play for most of the contest but they have to focus for a full 60 minutes as this Avalanche team is incredibly pesky and has come back from deficits all season long. The Wild can’t feel too poorly about letting things slip away though as it was a perfect storm of sorts that included a game saving stick check by Jack Johnson who timed his skate perfectly to deflect a puck heading straight into the vacant goal that surely would have sealed things. After the save the Avs knotted things up and it was the hero who forced overtime who ended things as well in what was a crazy sequence to end the first game of what should be a very exciting series. Semyon Varlamov will take to the ice once again as he goes up against Ilya Bryzgalov.
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Colorado has been a tough team to play against all season long and they demonstrated that resolve once again on Thursday night that ultimately led to a pivotal first game victory. The Avalanche have gone from rags to riches throughout the course of one season and could very well coast through this series and set up a grudge match with the victor of the Blues-Blackhawks battle but I wouldn’t count Minnesota out just yet. As I mentioned, the Avalanche needed everything to go perfectly for them in the third period and overtime and they got exactly what they wished for. Things could have ended on a number of occasions in favour of the visitors and while you can’t always justify a performance in a losing effort the Wild actually looked really solid. The Avs could very well come out with a ton of fire power after barely escaping game one but I don’t think we see it that way and I think this series will go the distance and I still believe the Wild come out on top. But they absolutely need to steal this game and head back home with momentum and some breathing room or else they’ll be in trouble. I’m taking Minnesota to even things up.