|COL||1||7:40|| ||4||5||15||31||40||43||21||22||32||34||48|| ||5v4|
|COL||3||12:24|| ||4||5||9||16||31||40||5||9||32||51||55|| ||5v4|
|COL||3||8:21|| ||8||23||25||26||27||31||3||6||21||22||32|| ||5v4|
|COL||3||7:20|| ||4||5||9||16||31||40||3||6||12||25||32|| ||5v4|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Wild certainly didn't do anything to help their reputation as a boring team in this game. Minnesota took the lead with about 54 minutes left in the game and from that point on there was a total of 12 chances. The Wild only had four of them and at one point went over twenty consecutive minutes without a scoring chance. Both teams were playing good defence and neither team was taking what the defence was giving them. Both teams tried to shoot the puck from poor angles in an attempt to generate rebounds but couldn't get people to the net to pick up the puck. Both teams tried to make passes to players in scoring areas but couldn't navigate through the sticks of their opponents. Both teams blocked quite a few shots. Both teams were poor on the power play, but the Avalanche especially so. 4 chances in 10 minutes is pretty poor and they just looked bad while doing it. The Wild were bad too, but two of their power play minutes involved Greg Zanon on the point as they were killing the clock in the last five minutes of the game. Their goals were a little different than usual. Not a very exciting game.
Except for Justin Mercier. It was his first NHL game, so I'm sure he was pretty excited. I was excited to see him in the lineup too because it meant David Koci was out! But, he didn't generate anything in his seven minutes of ice time and managed to be outchanced along with the rest of the fourth line. Not a particularly encouraging debut and his NCAA career doesn't exactly leave me pining for more. They'd likely be better off with Durno or Hensick.
The big officiating miss in the game was Martin Havlat lifting the net off its moorings and causing a stoppage in the second period just before the puck crossed into the Minnesota goal. I recall the Avalanche doing the exact same thing to Columbus a couple of games ago with the same result (tying goal disallowed). It seems like there's one of these kinds of things every game and must get frustrating for the players. I wonder how much these kinds of calls impact a team's record. It's probably significant.
But do you know what isn't significant? The first game back after a long road trip. This early in the season there isn't enough fatigue to cause a substantial change in performance and the psychological effect seems to be nil. The announcers were peddling this tripe throughout the first period much to my chagrin, even saying "It's been that way forever." Kids, when you hear a phrase like that about something that seems like it could be made-up it's probably worthwhile to check.