The Minnesota Wild won their first preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, 9/24. With a final score of 4-3, this game was a fight to the finish. A running theme throughout the game was how many penalties were called. Most of the fourteen penalties were called during the front half of the game. The last period only had three penalties. However, the last penalty that the Avalanche took was a double minor for high-sticking that drew blood, leaving them short-handed during the last five minutes of the game.
Wallstedt Came As Advertised
Without a Minnesota television feed of the game, Wild fans were left to watch the Colorado feed. But even their announcers couldn’t deny how good Jesper Wallstedt was playing. He swallowed almost every single puck that came his way, giving the Avalanche little chance at burying a rebound. He may have let in three goals, but he stopped 40 shots. With impressive glove saves and kick saves, there was more than once that the crowd thought the Avs had scored, only to find out that Wallstedt had once again saved the impossible shot.
Sammy Walker is Itching for the NHL
First of all, let’s acknowledge that preseason is not equal to the regular NHL season. But Sammy Walker had two goals and one assist in this game and made a statement to everyone watching. After seeing him dominate the AHL and his good showing in 7 Minnesota Wild games last season, today’s game seemed to cement the idea that Walker is ready for the NHL and he won’t quit until he gets there. While he’s sure to start his season in Iowa for purely salary cap reasons, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be long before Walker is wearing the Minnesota jersey full-time.
Daemon Hunt Can’t Catch a Break
Out of all of the Iowa Wild defensemen, Daemon Hunt is probably the closest prospect to being ready for the NHL. So seeing him go down clutching his head as he squirms in pain was even worse than it normally would be. Hunt missed out on playing in the World Juniors two years in a row because of injury. Leaving the ice clutching a towel to his face, it’s unclear what the actual injury is, but watching the playback shows a blow that might be worthy of putting him in concussion protocol. Hopefully, Hunt can heal quickly because he’s on the cusp of being called up from Iowa the next time the big club needs a defenseman. There was no penalty called on the play.
- Vinni Lettieri was noticeable the whole game. Scoring one goal, he made a difference on both sides of the ice.
- Calen Addison played well but took an unnecessary cross-checking penalty in the third. For a player fighting to stay on the ice and out of the press box, he’ll need to keep his temper in check.
- Riley Tufte, who plays for the Avalanche, is from Minnesota and showed why Minnesota is the State of Hockey. Even though he was playing for the opponent, there’s no denying that he was noticeable every shift and not just because of his size. Tufte scored to bring the Avalanche within one goal in the last minute of the game.