Avs goalie has been the difference
By Arnie Stapelton
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — No regrets, and no plans to change a thing.
Colorado’s credo after winning Game 5?
Nope. It’s the Minnesota Wild’s insistence after losing it.
The Wild dominated in every way imaginable Thursday night and still lost 3-2 to the Avalanche and their nearly unbeatable goaltender Jose Theodore, who’s looking a lot like his former MVP self.
"The only thing stopping them was Theo," Avs enforcer Ian Laperriere said. "They took it to us and they deserve a better result, I guess."
Never has Theodore played better for the Avs than in the second period, when he made a series of astonishing saves to rescue his struggling teammates and fluster the bewildered Wild.
"That second period, we should have been down five or six goals," suggested Avs center Paul Stastny.
Instead, it was 1-1 after two periods and Wojtek Wolski and Stastny scored in the third as the Avs pulled away to take a 3-2 series lead.
"Great’s not even the word to describe it," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said of Theodore’s play. "Being tied going into the third was almost like winning going into the third."
For the Wild, it was almost as if they were trailing. But they’ve been holding their heads high ever since.
"If we’re going to keep playing like that over there we have a great chance to win," suggested Minnesota’s still-scoreless Marian Gaborik. "We just have to be positive and try to repeat the same game and the outcome will be different."
Not if Theodore, who saved 38 of 39 shots before a meaningless goal in the waning seconds, has anything to say about it.
"Besides score, nothing," Wild defenseman Sean Hill responded when asked what more Minnesota could have done. "We’re confident in our game and we’re happy with the way our game was (Thursday)."
That’s why the Avs are talking about playing more aggressively, forechecking harder, managing the puck better, winning more faceoffs, so that Theodore doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting for a change.
They were also still talking on Friday about Theodore’s amazing game, and some of those who played with Patrick Roy put this one right up there with the Hall of Famer.