ST. PAUL, Minn. - Mikael Granlund's diving swing at his own rebound in overtime gave the Minnesota Wild a 1-0 win over Semyon Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 on Monday to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
"I was just so happy," Granlund said. "It was a really big win for us. Now it's 2-1. Obviously, it was a great feeling."
Varlamov stopped 45 of 46 shots, a franchise playoff record number of shots on goal for the Wild.
"I thought we deserved a couple more (goals)," said Wild forward Zach Parise. "But Varlamov was unbelievable. It's nice to get a win."
"The challenge and the part where I give the guys a lot of credit is being mentally tough enough to stay with it," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "Obviously, we felt we were taking it to them pretty good and to not get frustrated at that point, to not start to drift and get away from our game, that's something that good teams do."
Granlund, who had seven shots on goal leading the team along with Zach Parise, cut toward the net for a wrist shot at 5:08 into overtime. As he was falling forward he took a stab at the puck and finally put one past Varlamov.
"He took it to a new level tonight," Yeo said. "The goal he scored. It was just an amazing play."
Yeo said that a lot has been made of the skill of some of the young Avalanche players, but he noted that Wild players like Granlund also can put the puck in the net.
"He had a few similar plays in the game where he was able to beat a player down low," Yeo said. "He was very aggressive to the net and eventually he got rewarded."
After a history of concussions, the latest which kept Granlund out of final games of the regular season, his tenacity was appreciated by fans at Monday night's game.
"This is not a timid guy," Yeo said. "From what I've seen, when teams try to play him a little more physical, he kind of elevates his game ... This is a guy who is used to being a target."
Another young Wild teammate had a huge game on Monday night. Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves in his first career playoff start. He was just as good as his counterpart.
He also got great defense in front of him, especially on the penalty kill. Colorado had four power play opportunities on the night.
"Every shift and every kill has been, 'Ok, it's about this one,'" Yeo explained. "And that's the mentality they've had. I like that we've been aggressive. I like that we've been pressuring."
The young Avalanche team, got a taste of playing on the road in the playoffs, in some cases for the first time. Despite a barrage of shots, they still had a chance to win the game. Avalanche coach Patrick Roy says they'll learn from Monday night's game, but he was also very complimentary to Minnesota.
"I would rather give (the Wild) credit. They were the better team on the ice," said Roy.
Game 4 is at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.