Avalanche slip by Wild
DENVER -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called it his team's "best game" of the season. Still, it wasn't enough as Minnesota fell 1-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Center.
DENVER - Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called it his team's "best game" of the season. Still, it wasn't enough as Minnesota fell 1-0 to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Center.
As the archrival Avs walked away with the win in Round 1 of the always-intense rivalry, the Wild couldn't help but think of what could've been.
"That was a good game by us," Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. "It's disappointing for everybody to put in a good effort like that (and not come away with a win)."
Boudreau wasn't exaggerating when he said this was the best his team has look for 60 minutes, as the Wild were the better team for most of the game. They controlled the pace early and had a myriad of chances late, never able to get one past Avs goaltender Calvin Pickard, who finished with 32 saves en route to his first shutout of the season.
Pickard had some puck luck on his side down the stretch, though. In the final minutes, the Wild generated three Grade A scoring chances: defenseman Ryan Suter fluttered a seeing-eye puck on net that Pickard saved by accident, right winger Charlie Coyle hit the post, and finally, Coyle scored the apparent tying goal with 51.5 seconds only to have the goal waved off after the referee ruled that center Eric Staal interfered with Pickard in the crease.
"I mean, there's posts and shots (Pickard) doesn't see and rebounds, and it seemed like nothing could go in," Dubnyk said.
"It was frustrating," Suter added. "We played well. We had a lot of chances. We couldn't get one past him there."
Staal wasn't a fan of the goal that was waved off when Coyle scored on a deflected shot from defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
"He was way out (of the crease)," Staal said of Pickard. "It's a tough call, in my opinion. I was trying to get out of the way and get out of there. When I'm battling with a D man, I'm not paying attention to where the goalie is. You're trying to get position. The goalie was in a terrible position. He was way out in the white. He was out of position, and they gave him the benefit there. That's the way they called it."
Boudreau agreed that he thought Pickard was outside the crease before conceding.
"What are you going to do?" he said.
Boudreau said "while it's not a consolation prize" to play well and lose, he knows "if we played like that, most games we're going to win."
Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog scored the winning goal midway through the third period after mixing it up with Dubnyk minutes earlier. After an exchange near the crease that escalated into a fight, Dubnyk got tagged with a double-minor.
"(Dubnyk) gave him a little slash, (Landeskog) came back at him, and then (the referee) said we got the extra because (Dubnyk) threw a punch," Boudreau said. "Well, I saw Landeskog throwing a punch, too. So I don't know what he was thinking. The goalie never gets the extra in those things because obviously Landeskog was in the blue paint and he couldn't see and he was trying to get him out of the way. And what other way does the goalie have to get him out of the way? I thought it was, well, one of many."
Although the coach was upset with the call, the Wild were able to kill that penalty. Still, Landeskog got the last laugh with a power-play goal later in the period.
Suter said even though the loss stings, the Wild can take positives away from their effort, especially heading into a three-game road trip next week.
"We have to play like that if we want to have success," Suter said. "I thought we played a solid game. A couple minutes there in the third period we'd like to have back."
"We have to be happy with the way we played," Staal added. " I thought we played hard. We had a lot of looks, a lot of good chances, a lot of opportunities in front of the net. I thought we got a little more desperate and hungry in front of the net there toward the end, which is what we need to do overall a little bit more consistency. I thought we played a good game. We have to continue this on and take it into Pittsburgh on Thursday."