ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild were denied at the net by Semyon Varlamov time after time, a 44-shot barrage in regulation that resulted in, alas, zero goals.
Coach Mike Yeo jokingly wondered aloud at the third intermission whether his team was "psychotic" to put itself through such angst. After all, the way this sport often goes, the next score in the scoreless game had the strong potential to be one of those bad-bounce goals that make a night of domination go for naught.
Mikael Granlund made sure that didn't happen.
Granlund's diving goal 5:08 into overtime gave the Wild a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 on Monday. Minnesota pulled within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series after Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record for shots on goal by the Wild.
"You see it so many times where teams do so well and get chance after chance after chance and then a fluky one goes in against you. Luckily. that wasn't the case," said Wild left wing Zach Parise.
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 defenseman 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 defenseman 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 defenseman," 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 a one-goal game.
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