If a hockey game is only going to give us one goal, it had better be a good one.
There will be more playoff goals in 22-year-old Minnesota Wild centre Mikael Granlund’s career, but he set the bar sky-high with his first.
In overtime of a scoreless affair in which Colorado Avalanche Vezina candidate Semyon Varlamov turned away all 45 shots he had faced, young Granlund fought off a check along the boards from defenceman Jan Hejda, cut toward the crease, slipped past Erik Johnson, and began to falling forward.
The Finnish talent extended his stick, dived past an off-balance Johnson, and beat Varlamov wide. Photo finish.
“We were playing really good. We were creating chances. We got rewarded. We need to just keep playing like that,” a modest Granlund said after registering a career-high seven shots and being crowned the game’s first star.
The 1-0 victory at home essentially saved the Wild’s playoff life, as Minnesota now trails Colorado 2-1 in what is turning out to be the kiddie table of first-round playoff series.