Minnesota Score Photo by Bryan Singer
By Izzy Presley – Columnist
January 19, 2013
Wild vs. Avalanche gallery: http://www.ihigh.com/mnscore/gallery_99663.html
ST. PAUL, MN – It was a night of firsts for the Minnesota Wild as most opening nights are. It was the first regular season games in a Wild sweater for Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Mikael Granlund.
Granlund scored his first NHL goal. Parise got his first points as a member of the Wild. Zenon Konopka dropped the mitts for the first time as the Wild’s tough guy and gave the fans a good bout against the hated Cody McLoed. 307 penalty minutes in 2010/11? I think I will like this guy.
The X was packed with well over 19,000 fans in attendance for the LONG awaited season opener and it was not long for them to show how happy they were that hockey is back. That was before they sat through the first period.
The 1st was a sloppy mess with only 5 shots on goal for the Wild opposed to 12 for the visiting Colorado Avalanche. It was evident that there will be a feeling out period with this team that really looked out of sync in the 1st.
John Mitchell scored the first game of the young season putting the Avs up top roughly 2 minutes into the game and they should have went up more but missed 3 open nets.
The 2nd period was a time of reckoning for the Wild with crisper play, and a tie game after 3:26 when Dany Heatley netted his first of the year from Parise and Mikko Koivu and less than a minute later, Granlund put the 1st of his career in on a tip from Jared Spurgeon.
Although the Avs came back to within one in the 3rd, Pierre-Marc Bouchard sealed it with less than 2 minutes left to bring the Wild back up by 2 after getting stone walled on a breakaway in the 2nd by Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov.
Heatley was stopped before he had a chance to get the hatter on the open net following Bouchard’s sealer.
I overheard Michael Russo, my sports writing yoda and Wild beat writer for the Star Tribune saying that Wes Walz called it to a T. Slow start with the Wild coming back with the win.
It’s a short yet long season and the 1st one is in the books with a lot of great hockey to come, so let’s let the hockey loving festivities begin.
On a side note, Greg Zannon’s beard is still glorious.