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Wild win must-win game

Mikael Granlund of the Minnesota Wild gets put into the boards by Colorado’s Nate Guenin (5) during Game 3 of their playoff series Monday night in St. Paul. Granlund scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Wild won 1-0. The Avalanche lead the series 2-1.

By Chad Graff

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — It took 65 minutes and eight seconds, but the Wild finally got a puck past Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.

After controlling the play all game, Mikael Granlund finally scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Wild a 1-0 victory, their first win in the best-of-seven, opening-round playoff series.

Colorado now holds a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 Thursday night in St. Paul.

Five minutes, eight seconds into overtime, Granlund hit the break along the wall and charged toward the net. As he fell to the ground, Granlund sneaked the puck past Varlamov.

Prior to that, Varlamov had turned aside 45 straight shots as the Wild finished with a 46-22 shot advantage, which set a playoff franchise record.

It was a near must-win game for the Wild. Only three teams in NHL history have overcome a 3-0 series deficit in the playoffs.

Just as they did last year against Chicago, the Wild won Game 3 in overtime after dropping the first two. Last year, the Blackhawks beat the Wild in Games 4 and 5, though, to finish the series.

For the first time in this series, the Wild controlled the play and dominated regulation.

It made it hard to overstate Varlamov’s brilliance. After allowing four goals in the first two periods of this series, Varlamov returned to the other-worldly numbers the Colorado goalie put up in the regular season.

He allowed a few rebounds in the first few minutes of the first period but was stellar after that.

Charlie Coyle came the closest to beating him, but his regulation shot clanked off the post and rolled harmlessly to the corner.

Varlamov stopped great chances by Zach Parise, Granlund and Jason Pominville. The Wild outshot the Avs 44-20 through regulation.