On the night when the Wild played their best game of the season, Mikael Granlund outshined his teammates with his intensity, his constant drive to the net and, finally, with a brilliant one-man effort that resulted in the game's only goal in overtime.
The Wild dominated from the opening whistle. They out-hit the Avalanche. They played most of the game in the Avalanche's defensive zone. For the game, the Wild out-shot the Avalanche 46-22.
One of the reasons why the Wild outplayed the Avalanche is because their third line of center Erik Haula and wingers Justin Fontaine and Matt Cooke totally erased Colorado's top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon.
Another reason why the Wild outplayed the Avalanche is because their defensemen pinched in in the offenseive zone all night. They played with great confidence throughout the night. That being said, the Wild defensemen likely wouldn't have taken those chances if Darcy Kumper, making his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, wasn't playing well.
Fortunately for the Wild, Kuemper was playing with the swagger of an All-Star, stopping all 22 of the shots he faced on the night.
The only negative for the Wild is that Matt Cooke was penalized for a knee-on-knee hit against Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. After the game, Avalanche Coach Patrick Roy called the hit "the play of the game", adding that Barrie was likely out for 4-6 weeks.
The NHL office has already notified the Wild that Matt Cooke has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety, which allows the NHL to suspend the player up to 5 games. If that's the case, the Wild would lose Cooke for the rest of the series, potentially for the rest of the playoffs.
Tonight's win was the best the Wild have played all season, which should boost their confidence. Still, tonight's victory won't mean much if they don't win Thursday night, too. If the Wild hold serve at home, however, then it's a nail-biting series again.
If Mikael Granlund and Darcy Kuemper play like they played tonight, this will be a competitive, entertaining series.