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2014 NHL Playoffs: Nathan MacKinnon lifts Avs to 2-0 series lead over Wild

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Nathan MacKinnon has given Avs fans plenty to cheer about with seven points through two games. (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon has taken a liking to the playoffs in his first go-round. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Patrick Roy knows a bit about making a playoff impression at an early age.

The coach of the Colorado Avalanche was just 20 when he stepped between the pipes and led the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1986.

But even he has to be amazed at what Nathan MacKinnon is doing to the Minnesota Wild.

The 18-year-old sensation followed up a three-point performance in Game 1 with a record-setting four-point encore to lead the Avs to a 4-2 win over the Wild on Saturday night. The victory gives Colorado a commanding 2-0 lead as the best-of-seven series heads to Minnesota.

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  • Published On Apr 20, 2014
  • Late rally by Avalanche takes Game 1 from Wild, 5-4, in overtime

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    By Jared Crozier

    Like most of the other first round games, offense was the big story — the Avalanche and the Wild combined for nine goals in Game 1. Normally an up-tempo shootout would be to Colorado’s advantage, but the Avs struggled early and trailed 4-2 by the end of the second period. Eventually, Minnesota allowed Colorado too many chances and paid dearly for it when Paul Stastny scored the tying goal in the final seconds of the third period. He went on to score the game-winner for the Avalanche in OT.

    Here are some notes and observations from an action-packed Game 1:

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs preview: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

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    Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche

    Don’t expect goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) and the Avalanche to wilt under pressure. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

    By Brian Cazeneuve 

    Regular-season recaps

    Nov. 29: Avalanche 3, Wild 1

    Nov. 30: Avalanche 3, Wild 2 (SO)

    Dec. 14: Wild 2, Avalanche 1 (SO)

    Jan. 11: Avalanche 4, Wild 2

    Jan. 30: Avalanche 5, Wild 4

    Notable injuries

    Avalanche: F Matt Duchene (bruised knee, likely out for series), D Jan Hejda (upper body, day-to-day), F Alex Tanguay (hip surgery, out for season), D Cory Sarich (back spasms, day-to-day)

    Wild: G Darcy Kuemper (upper body, day-to-day), G Josh Harding (complications from multiple sclerosis, day-to-day), Nicklas Backstrom (abdominal surgery, out for series), F Jason Zucker (quadriceps, out for series)

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • NHL suspends Mike Rupp of Minnesota Wild four games for Oshie head shot

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    By Allan Muir

    It didn’t take long for the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian to make his mark.

    Appointed to fill the void created by the departure of Brendan Shanahan to the Maple Leafs earlier Friday, Stephane Quintal made a good call in handing Minnesota Wild forward Mike Rupp a four-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie on Thursday night.

    The suspension includes the Wild’s final regular-season game and their first three playoff games. Considering what Rupp brings to the table, it might have been more punitive to make him skate a regular shift in those games, but you know these things work.

    It was a pretty clear-cut case for Quintal and his staff. Not only was the hit late, but Oshie’s head was the primary point of contact. As the league’s Patrick Burke points out in the video, Rupp was obligated to hit him cleanly and within a reasonable amount of time after Oshie dished off the puck. Since Rupp did neither, there wasn’t a lot of latitude for leniency here.

    The one bright spot for Rupp: he sacrifices just one game’s salary ($7,692.31) to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund because players are only paid through the end of the regular season.

    Nice job here by the new crew. I hate to have to retire “Shanabanned,” but as long as the boys in New York dole out the discipline appropriately, we’re ready to make that sacrifice.

    Captain Quintal, the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian takes over:


  • Published On Apr 11, 2014
  • Blues’ T.J. Oshie injured after high hit from Minnesota’s Mike Rupp

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     Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images

    It’s not yet known how long T.J. Oshie will be out as the Blues prepare for a postseason run. (Getty Images)

    By Mike McMahon

    St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie was forced out of Thursday night’s game against the Wild by a high hit from Minnesota enforcer Mike Rupp.

    Oshie remained down on the ice for several minutes before being helped to his feet by players and trainers and leaving under his own power.  He did not return to action and it is unclear how much time the Team USA Olympic shootout hero will miss as the postseason rapidly approaches.

    Rupp, who has played in just 12 games this season, received a match penalty for the hit that injured the Blues star.

    This may turn out to be an interesting development between the Wild and the Blues, who could potentially face each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • Wild on verge of playoff berth; Rangers clinch thanks to Devils’ loss

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    The Wild are on the verge of a playoff berth after a 1-0 win over the Jets. (Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

    The Wild are on the verge of a wild card playoff berth after a 1-0 win over the Jets. (Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

    By Mike McMahon

    The NHL is one night closer to figuring out who will earn the right to gut it out for Lord Stanley’s Cup. All three games on Monday night carried playoff implications as some teams had their hopes of playing for the hardware all but confirmed, while others were officially crossed off the list of contenders.

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  • Published On Apr 08, 2014
  • Wild’s Zach Parise returns to game despite vicious hit from Brandon Bollig

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    By Darian Somers

    It looked like Zach Parise wouldn’t return after this nasty hit from Chicago’s Brandon Bollig on Thursday night. But after a few tense minutes, Minnesota fans could sigh in relief.

    Parise had to be helped off the ice by the Wild’s training staff during the second period and he was taken down the tunnel to be examined. About two minutes after the hit,  Parise returned and continued playing, finishing the night with no points in his 23:20 of ice time during Minnesota’s 3-2 shootout loss.

    Bollig was not issued a penalty for the hit.


  • Published On Apr 03, 2014
  • Minnesota Wild signs UMass Lowell defenseman Christian Folin

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    Christian Folin

    (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Darian Somers

    The Minnesota Wild have won the Christian Folin sweepstakes.

    The Wild announced on Monday night they signed the UMass Lowell defenseman, regarded as one of the best unrestricted free agents in college hockey.

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  • Published On Apr 01, 2014
  • VIDEO: Zach Parise returns to New Jersey, gets booed by Devils fans

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    By Darian Somers

    Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise would probably have been booed for helping an old woman cross the street in New Jersey on Thursday night.

    Parise, the former captain of the Devils, returned to the Prudential Center for the first time since signing a 13-year deal with the Wild after the 2011-12 season, and he didn’t get the red carpet treatment, to say the least.

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  • Published On Mar 20, 2014
  • Minnesota Wild forwards Zach Parise, Matt Cooke reach NHL milestones

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    By Nick Stoico

    It was a special night in St. Paul for two Minnesota Wild skaters: Zach Parise played in his 600th NHL game, which also happened to be Matt Cooke’s 1,000th.

    Parise celebrated his milestone in style, putting the Wild on the board and adding an assist in a three-goal outburst in a 4:18 span in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers. It was the 22nd tally of the season for the Minneapolis native who is in his second season with the Wild after spending his first seven in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils. Parise is second on the team in goals and points (40) despite playing in just 49 of Minnesota’s 65 games thus far this season. (Unfortunately, the Wild couldn’t hold the lead and lost, 4-3, in a shootout.)

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  • Published On Mar 11, 2014


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