Fresh off the biggest goal of his short NHL career, Mikael Granlund received an unexpected congratulations in a joyous Minnesota Wild locker room, but it wasn't enough to elicit any extra elation out of the usually-reserved Finn. Defenseman Ryan Suter's kids were playing ball hockey in the team's dressing room and stopped Granlund after his game-winning goal in a 1-0 overtime victory of Monday's playoff game against the Colorado Avalanche. Granlund was wearing a wide smile after the game and got some congratulatory fist bumps from Suter's kids. "We're trying to (get him excited) back there, but he just doesn't say much. He just nods his head, I told my little guys 'go give him knuckles,' . . . he's just really shy. He's a really good kid." Granlund gave the Wild plenty of reason to be excited on Monday. Playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time, Granlund helped Minnesota overcome a standout game by Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov by scoring 5 minutes, 8 seconds into overtime to give the Wild their first win of the series and pull within two games to one with Game 4 on Thursday in Minnesota. Showing off the skill he'd been known for as one of the top young prospects in the game and an international star, Granlund won a battle for the puck along the boards with Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda and cut to the net. He crossed the front of goal, losing balance and falling while maintaining control of the puck and sliding it past Varlamov as he hit the ice. "He's got a lot of skills," forward Zach Parise said. "He's got a lot of those. But that one was pretty." Granlund's list of memorable, skilled goals in his short career is growing. He was memorialized on a postage stamp in his native Finland for scoring a lacrosse-style goal in the World Championships in which Granlund lifted the puck onto his stick from behind the goal and scooped it around the post. Koivu, his Finnish countryman, has seen Granlund's success in international play and is now seeing it translate to the NHL. "Obviously it's a big goal, but it's more than that," Koivu said. "I think for an individual player, you can create a lot of confidence with that for the games in the future as well. It was obviously a great play, great move all the way to the end. Yeah, I'm very happy for him and I'm sure a big goal for him, as well coming off an injury and in the playoffs, so it's huge." Monday's heroics won't get him a spot on more postage, but he's stamped himself into Wild lore. Granlund's goal was the sixth overtime playoff goal in team history, which includes five against the Avalanche.
Wild's Granlund elevating game on national playoff stage
Fox Sports North | Apr 22