Stanley Cup Playoffs: Game Four – Minnesota Wild stifles Colorado Avalanche to even series


Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche had only 12 shots in Game 4 against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

That is not a recipe for success as Minnesota evens the series at two with Colorado after a 2-1 win.

The Avs, whose 12 shots tied a franchise playoff low,  were never able to generate anything on offense. Up until the final two minutes, the Avs had eight shots on goal. Pucks on net were no where to be found in Game 4.

The Wild’s Jared Spurgeon scored early in the first period as Minnesota came out and blitzed the Avs much like Game 3. Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov was once again unbelievable in net but the effort was not enough to pull out a victory that Colorado didn’t really deserve.

Charlie Coyle scored his third of the series to give the Wild a 2-0 lead in the second period. That lead looked to be more than enough as the Avs struggled to maintain possession of the puck or get shots on goal.

There was glimmer of hope 30 seconds after Coyle’s goal as Ryan O’Reilly finally put a puck past Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper to cut the lead to 2-1. That goal was on the Avs’ seventh shot of the game.

Coach Patrick Roy pulled Varlamov with about three minutes to go and paired with a Minnesota penalty, the Avs had a 6-on-4 to end the game. Despite the advantage the Avs were unable to push across the tying goal. Defenseman Erik Johnson had several chances at shot but the Wild blocked them. Both Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon were held without a shot in the game.

The Avs now head back to Denver in a tied series with the Wild having all the momentum. Game 5 is Saturday night at Pepsi Center.


First Period_1, Minnesota, Spurgeon 1 (Parise, Granlund), 3:47. Penalties_Brodin, Min (hooking), 4:18; Guenin, Col (tripping), 11:44.

Second Period_2, Minnesota, Coyle 3 (Pominville), 12:55 (pp). 3, Colorado, O’Reilly 2 (McGinn), 13:25. Penalties_Suter, Min (hooking), 4:43; Landeskog, Col (hooking), 12:16; Stastny, Col (cross-checking), 16:23.

Third Period_None. Penalties_Stoner, Min (holding), 1:35; McGinn, Col (tripping), 14:19; Brodin, Min (hooking), 17:46.

Shots on Goal_Colorado 3-4-5_12. Minnesota 14-11-7_32.

Power-play opportunities_Colorado 0 of 4; Minnesota 1 of 4.

Goalies_Colorado, Varlamov 2-2-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Minnesota, Kuemper 2-0-0 (12-11).

A_19,396 (17,954). T_2:33.

Referees_Tim Peel, Chris Rooney. Linesmen_Derek Amell, Darren Gibbs.