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THN.com Playoff Blog: Avs-Wild gets better as night grows later

Ken Campbell
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Nicklas Backstrom and P-M Bouchard were big reasons for the Wild's Game 3 victory. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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THN.com Playoff Blog: Avs-Wild gets better as night grows later

Ken Campbell
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Gee, you have to wonder how the Minnesota Wild feels about the prospect of no-touch icing this morning.

Well, Kurtis Foster, who’s sitting at home watching this series with a broken leg, probably still hates it. But you’d have a hard time finding the healthy members of the Wild complaining about touch icing after its 3-2 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche Monday night.

Had all those no-touch icing advocates, who don’t seem to have any problem when a guy gets his face busted apart in a fight, had their way, the Wild would never have had a scoring chance on their overtime goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard to give them a 2-1 lead over the Avs in their first-round series. That’s because as soon as Brian Rolston’s errant pass crossed the red line, it would have been blown down.

But it was not and a bad bounce off the Colorado net led directly to Bouchard’s overtime goal in a game that got more exciting the later it went into the evening.

In fact, here’s what you have to do for the rest of this series - don’t start watching the games until the third period.

It’s quite bizarre, really, because so far in the first round, the Avs and Wild have done everything they can to put you to sleep early in the evening, then keep you on the edge of your seat as the night goes on and Monday night’s game was no exception.

For two periods in this series, the Wild generally spends most of its time skating backwards through the neutral zone, not bothering to forecheck even on the power play and pretty much choking the life out of the game. Then in the third period, they decide to get serious and for the third straight game, waited until the third period to put a goal past Avs goalie Jose Theodore.

And through it all, Theodore has been rather complicit in all of it. And if you need proof, consider the following: In the first two periods of the three games in this series, Theodore has stopped all 57 shots he has faced for a 1.000 save percentage and a 0.00 goals-against average. In third period and overtimes, Theodore has allowed eight goals on 43 shots for a 5.71 goals-against average and an .814 save percentage.

But Theodore has a lot of time to redeem himself. After all, this series is showing all the signs of going the distance and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if all seven games went into overtime.

LIKE FATHER, NOT LIKE SON
The family of father Peter, and sons Yan and Paul Stastny have combined for a total of 105 NHL playoff points.

The only problem for the Avalanche is that dear old Dad has accounted for every one of them. Appearing in the first playoff of his NHL career, Paul Stastny has been a little less than sterling. Granted, he was much better in the third period and overtime of Game 3 of the first round series against Minnesota, but he still has no points and has been generally ineffective.

That will have to change if the Avalanche wants to win this series. If Stastny needs any motivation, he won’t have to call his father in Europe. All he has to do is look at the example teammates Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg are setting.

AND FINALLY…
Nice little battle between Mikko Koivu of the Wild and Ben Guite of the Avalanche in the faceoff circle, isn’t it?

THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Tuesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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THN.com Playoff Blog: Avs-Wild gets better as night grows later