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“It’s a big goal, but it’s more than that,” fellow Finn center Mikko 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.”

The abbreviated season last year following the lockout sure didn’t help Granlund, who was also dealing with the transition from the wide-open European style to the smaller ice sheet.

The player who attracts paparazzi in his home country and had an eye-popping, lacrosse-style, lifted-puck goal from the 2011 world championships printed on a postage stamp had only two goals and six assists in 27 games and was sent to the AHL for more development.

He had eight goals and 33 assists this season. Then came the overtime on Monday.

“We didn’t get beat by a bad goal. We got beat by an outstanding play,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “He made a terrific play in the corner, even better to the front of the net. I mean, we had two guys in front of the net. He went through these guys. He deserves credit.”

Darcy Kuemper’s 22-save shutout in his playoff debut was another reason the Wild were able to climb back into contention. They’ll all face an Avalanche team certain to be fired up, particularly in light of losing defenseman Tyson Barrie to a knee-on-knee hit by Wild agitator Matt Cooke.

While the Wild began preparing to play without Cooke, a strong candidate for suspension, the Avalanche regrouped at practice on Wednesday. Johnson called Cooke’s pattern of rough play “disgusting” and questioned whether he should remain in the league.

“We’re not looking to do anything to the extent he did. We’re just out there to finish our checks hard and play hard. As far as retribution? No,” Johnson said.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon and his star-studded line, meanwhile, looked to bounce back from a quiet game.

“It wasn’t them that shut us down. I think we shut ourselves down. They played hard and focused on our line, I guess, but it was more what we weren’t doing than what they were doing.”


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