Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund (64)

Wild fend off Avalanche

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For three periods, Mikael Granlund and the Minnesota Wild were flinging puck after puck at Semyon Varlamov, who was busy playing the part of impenetrable force. Finally, in overtime, such persistence produced a reward.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For three periods, Mikael Granlund and the Minnesota Wild were flinging puck after puck at Semyon Varlamov, who was busy playing the part of impenetrable force.

Finally, in overtime, such persistence produced a reward.

Granlund’s diving goal 5:08 into overtime gave the Wild a 1-0 win over Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 on Monday night to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by the Wild.

“It felt like we were taking it to ’em pretty good, so to not get frustrated at that point, not start to drift and get away from our game, that’s what good teams do,” a proud Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Granlund, who had a career-high seven shots on goal, sliced toward the crease and moved parallel to the net with some slick stick work. Avalanche defenceman Erik Johnson, who saved Game 1 by racing to swat away a shot on an empty net, lost his balance and tried unsuccessfully to dive at Granlund, who then began to fall forward. Granlund extended his stick to knock the puck in, and the celebration ensued.

“We were playing really good. We were creating chances. We got rewarded. We need to just keep playing like that,” Granlund said

Game 4 is at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday, when the Avalanche will be without defenceman Tyson Barrie. He took a knee-to-knee hit in the second period that yielded a penalty for Matt Cooke and a medial collateral ligament injury for Barrie. Coach Patrick Roy said he’ll be need four to six weeks to recover.

“Knee on Tyson Barrie is without a doubt the play of the game. We lost our best offensive defenceman,” Roy said, expressing confidence the NHL will suspend Cooke.

Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves, and the Wild goalie in his first career playoff start was just as good as Varlamov. He said he had a feeling this would be another one-goal game.

“I just tried to stick with it and make the saves I had to,” Kuemper said. “My teammates were obviously playing unbelievable and making it easy on me. I was just trying to do my job and stay sharp.”

After the Avalanche line of Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog combined for 17 points and seven goals over the first two games, the Wild kept them from doing any damage. The Wild shuffled their lines, with veteran Dany Heatley’s move off the scratch list the most notable change, and played their style. They didn’t get enough guys to the net for long rebounds Varlamov has a tendency to produce, but they completely controlled the flow, even if there wasn’t much to show for it.

“We were a little on our heels. We could’ve been a little bit better, played a little more simple,” MacKinnon said.

After wasting a 4-2 lead in Game 1, giving up the tying goal with 13 seconds left to Stastny, as well as the overtime winner, the Wild badly needed to recapture some energy.

They did from the opening faceoff, firing up a crowd that’s been waiting 11 years for a playoff series victory.

The Wild finally figured out how to contain the super-fast MacKinnon, forcing the 18-year-old wonder to have to stay in his own zone. They had the Avalanche on their heels for the majority of regulation. Cooke was all over the ice in his 100th career playoff game, colliding with just about every white Colorado jersey.

“We didn’t play up to what we’re capable of, there’s no doubt. But I’d rather give them credit. They played well. They were sharp. They were the better team on the ice,” Roy said, adding yet more praise for Varlamov.

Just Posted

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month