Mar 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene (9) during a stoppage of play in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Defeats Colorado Twice in Back to Back Games


Mar 14, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog (92) carries the puck during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Setoguchi’s three goals and assist in the back to back Avalanche-Wild games allow Minnesota to collect four points against division rival Colorado. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored in both games.

Three minutes into the first game, Matt Cullen threaded the needle through the Avalanche defenders to feed former San Jose Shark Torrey Mitchell in the slot. Mitchell one-timed it past Colorado goaltender Varlamov for his second goal on the season.  The first period equalizer came almost an entire period later when Parenteau tipped Stastny’s shot from the point.  The shot fluttered past the glove of goaltender Bäckström, ultimately ending up in the net for a 1-1 hockey game at the end of the first period.  Duchene and Stastny were credited with assists on PA Parenteau’s third PPG of the season.

A loosely played second period saw the Wild fire 19 shots on Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, who only stopped 16 of those shots.  Setoguchi, Brodin, and Koivu netted goals in the second for the Wild.

In a relapse of the 11-12 season, Ryan O’Reilly showed his worth as he dug deep to retain control of a puck that had been dumped in by defenseman Erik Johnson.   It looked as if one of the Wild defensemen would come up with the puck, but O’Reilly outworked them behind the net before flicking it up into the slot for Landeskog who easily tapped it in behind a sprawled out Bäckström.

Mar 14, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Colorado Avalanche forward PA Parenteau (15) celebrates his goal during the first period against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Parenteau continued his offensive prowess putting the Avs within a goal after defenseman Johnson shot the puck intentionally wide, which then bounced into the slot, stunning defenders, and giving Parenteau an uncontested shot for his second goal of the contest. The Avalanche came close to tying the Wild, but ultimately lost the game 5-3 when Minnesota scored an empty netter in the dying seconds of the third period.

The two game series shifted to Colorado for Saturday’s matinee game, and the Avalanche tried their hardest to collect two points for the first time since last Sunday.  Coach Joe Sacco elected to have Jean-Sebastian Giguere start in lei of Varlamov, after his atrocious second period in Minnesota.  The back-up goaltender standed worse than Varlamov, allowing four goals on only 14 shots.  He was promptly replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who allowed two goals on 14 shots for the remainder of the game.

Parenteau and Duchene did the heavy lifting for Avalanche, fighting to regain momentum of the hockey game.  Parenteau , who is now 5th in the Western Conference in points, received a pass from Duchene — who is tied for 3rd — and forced his way to the slot powering a low shot past Bäckström.  Shortly later, the Avs went onto the Powerplay, which saw Landeskog score on a one timer from Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly to bring the game within a goal for Colorado.

Minnesota defeated Colorado by two goals with a final score of 6-4, despite being outshot 32-28.  The Wild are now tied with Northwest division leader the Vancouver Canucks.

The Avalanche really need to settle games down and not let the game get too far away from them.  When they don’t have the momentum management and players alike need to make sure the adversaries cannot steal the game away from them in a short period of time.  In the first game of the season, the Avalanche played none other but the Minnesota Wild.  The Wild scored three goals over the course of 7 minutes in the second period.  Although the Avalanche outplayed the Wild most of the game, the second period goals proved too much for the Avalanche and they lost 4-2.   The similarities of these three game are remarkable, and the Avalanche management seems to be blind to it.

In lighter news, Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau have scored a combined total of 58 points (30+28), which leads the Western conference on points by two players on the same line.  Matt Duchene has tied All-Star forward and draft-mate John Tavares, and is just one point away from leading the Western Conference in points.  These newly met forwards have even beat out the legendary paradigm of playmaker and scorer, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who only have 49 combined points.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Colorado Avalanche Gariel Landeskog Matt Duchene Minnesota Wild PA Parenteau Semyon Varlamov