Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov was not going to let the Minnesota Wild win Game 3 of their divisional semifinal series. He was a wall, a force field, a save machine that would make 45 stops in the overtime game and look impenetrable against a stout Wild offensive attack.
The Wild needed a hero.
Mikael Granlund answered the call.
His first playoff goal at 5:08 of overtime defeated the Avalanche, 1-0, and cut their series lead to 2-1 on Monday night:
So much to love in this goal for the Wild.
The way Jason Pominville forces a turnover behind the Avalanche net. The way Zach Parise creates a lane for Granlund by going to the front of the net. Granlund using one hand on his stick to protect the puck from two Avalanche defenders.
He got a little puck luck when he lost the rubber disc by fanning on a pass. Hejda over-skated the play and Granlund getting a clear path to the crease. And oh, that move to avoid the Mark-Andre Cliche poke check, get around Varlamov and tuck it home.
This was postage stamp worthy. But Granlund’s been there before.
What a year for Granlund so far, following a star-making performance in Sochi playing on Teemu Selanne’s wing for bronze-medal winning Finland with this moment of playoff glory – his first Stanley Cup tournament goal and one for the ages for the Wild.
It’s a series again.