Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/20/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild's fan base waited six months, through a long summer, and a long lockout, to see their newest players in action. On Saturday, they needed to wait another 20 minutes or so to see them truly perform. After a slow-starting first period, Dany Heatley scored a pair of power play goals -- both of them set up by Zach Parise -- as Minnesota's new-look top line did its job in the season opener, powering the Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. John Mitchell and Cody McLeod scored for the Avalanche, who failed to capitalize on an opening 20 minutes in which they out-shot Minnesota, 12-5, but only grabbed a one-goal lead. "I was smiling the day we signed these guys, and I'm still smiling," said Heatley, referencing off-season acquisitions Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter. "They've added a huge element to our team." Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov denied Wild fans some great drama in the opening minute, knocking down a Parise tip after a shot from the blue line by defenseman Jared Spurgeon. On the next shift the Avalanche quieted the home crowd in earnest, as Mitchell poked Colorado's first shot on goal of the season under Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom for an early 1-0 lead. "We knew this was going to be a tough building to come play in, especially with the hype in the off-season," said Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. "We (quieted the crowd) in the first but got in some penalty trouble in the second that ultimately did us in." The Wild took advantage of Colorado's 12 second-period penalty minutes, scoring three times. Parise, who signed a $98 million free agent contract in July, fed a pass to Heatley on the Wild's first power play, which led to a 1-1 tie. He said the key was simplifying the game after a rough opening period. "I think we still had a little bit of summer hockey in us, trying to make cross-ice passes," Parise said. "Once we started getting it behind their D, they backed off a bit and that's when we got a lot of our opportunities." Another highly anticipated Minnesota newcomer gave the Wild their first lead of the season less than a minute later, as Finnish rookie Mikael Granlund tipped a Spurgeon shot past Varlamov. Heatley scored on a 5-on-3 power play later in the second. "This was a long time coming, this game," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "With the summer that we had and the excitement that's been around here, it was real nice to get a win for our fans tonight. They were instrumental. We weren't giving them much to cheer about early, but once we did the place was rocking." McLeod had six goals in 75 games for the Avalanche last season and is known more for his enforcer work than for offense. But it was his backhand shot that slipped past Backstrom early in the third period to get Colorado back within a goal at 3-2. But Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who has battled concussion symptoms for two years and was just reinstated from injured reserve this week, scored with 95 seconds left for Minnesota. "There's no question that penalties on us changed the momentum of that game," said Avalanche coach Joe Sacco. "Before that everything was going pretty good. I thought we were in control and in charge. But we've got to stay out of the box." Backstrom finished with 25 saves for Wild, who play Dallas at home on Sunday. The Avalanche, who will have their home opener Tuesday versus the Blue Jackets, got 31 saves from Varlamov. NOTES: Avalanche forward Chuck Kobasew, who had missed practice during the week due to the flu, was scratched from the lineup on Saturday. ... The entire Wild roster was announced prior to the game, including rookie defenseman Mathew Dumba, Minnesota's first-round pick (seventh overall) in last summer's entry draft. The 18-year-old did not dress in the game, but was in uniform for the intros. ... Minnesota newcomer Zenon Konopka and Colorado's McLeod wasted little time reminding fans of their roles for their respective teams, as they dropped the gloves less than three minutes into the first period. ... Dumba is expected to be sent back to the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL soon, but stuck with the Wild through the abbreviated training camp when veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert tweaked a groin muscle during a scrimmage on Wednesday. Gilbert was held out of practice for a day, but played on Saturday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker