Game Summary: The Minnesota Wild stumbled to an 0-3 start with a loss to the Colorado Avalanche at home
With a less than spectacular start to the 2022 campaign, it felt like a very early must-win game for the club to try and avoid falling to 0-3. Looking to make their presence known against the defending Cup champions, the Minnesota Wild brought in Mason Shaw from Iowa to take Marco Rossi’s place on the fourth line. Another change the bench made was starting goaltender Filip Gustavsson, who came on in relief of Marc-André Fleury against the Los Angeles Kings.
Early in the first it felt like deja vu. Three and a half minutes into the period, Ben Meyers — a Minnesota native — tipped a puck up and over Gustavsson to put the Colorado Avalanche up 1-0. Once again, the Wild start the game early. After a fairly good start, the energy seemed to leave the building.
Fortunately for the Wild faithful, Calen Addison put a nice move on the defenseman, who fed Kirill Kaprizov in the slot.
The match tied 1-1.
The young defender, who looked shaky in the first two games, needed it. Hopefully he realizes he has the skills to play in the NHL and can build on that going forward.
After the goal, the Wild looked like the team we have become accustomed to in recent years. The crowd got back into the game and desperately hoped for victory. Despite an unreal team effort and a few straight minutes of offensive zone time, Filip Gustavsson let in another soft goal to put the Avalanche back 2-1. The crowd erupted in cheers as the goaltending frustrations reverberated around the State of Hockey.
At 6:09 of the second, Addison dropped a bomb from the point on the power play. Joel Eriksson Ek was in front of the net to tip it in. The team’s hard work paid off, returning the Wild to even 2-2.
Just when we thought the season was back on track, another one was turned by Gustavsson. This one, I hate to say, was truly awful. During a 4-on-4, the Avalanche dumped it into the net. Somehow Gustavsson fumbled it into the slot and straight onto the tape of Mikko Rantanen, who said, “Thank you.” and potted it. 3-2 Landslide.
The Wild didn’t give up though and capitalized on a Kurtis MacDermid penalty. Kirill Kaprizov was able to knock one off a d-man in front of the net to get the Wild back within one. For his second goal of the night, 97 in green did all he could to keep the boys in it.
Another shining light was Addison, who tallied his third primary assist of the night. Probably the best game of his young career.
Just when you thought the Wild couldn’t shoot themselves in the foot any more than they already had, they negated a power play by getting a too-many penalty after pulling Gustavsson for a delayed call, so we stayed at even strength. Frustrating.
To add insult to injury, Cale Makar hacked Eriksson Ek behind the Avalanche net, but Joel caught up and finished in the box. The Avalanche scored immediately and put the game out of reach with five minutes left. After another sensible effort from the forward group, the defense and goalkeeper dropped the team to 0-3 for the season. Evason pulled the goalie late, which ended up in our net, ending the game 6-3 Avalanche.
Will the third line produce more?
They looked good – specifically Matt Boldy, which shouldn’t be surprising. Frederick Gaudreau was also prolific, nearly scoring an equalizer on the penalty kick late in the game. Sam Steel forechecked hard but didn’t produce much offensively. I think they are a good line that should last longer. Matt and Freddy will miss Kevin Fiala, but they will have to figure it out without him.
Can the Wild stay out of the box?
No. At least not when it came down to it. From an embarrassing retaliatory penalty from a leader to an unforgivable too-many-man, who lost a critical power play. The discipline was and has been a pure joke. If this team wants to turn it around, Dean Evason needs to take the bull by the horns and figure out how to eliminate those penalties. And by that I don’t mean punishing young rookies for taking penalties while not holding the veterans accountable.
What will Tyson Jost look like at the top of the lineup?
Well, he had an assist. He wasn’t good looking, but he wasn’t terrible either. Not a permanent replacement, but the young winger continues to look better and better. He looked a little nervous, and frankly, the avalanche may have some real estate in his head. His effort is always there, but he is not a top unit.