Paul Stastny scored his second goal in two contests, Ryan
O'Reilly registered his team-leading 20th and Max Talbot also
tallied for the Avalanche, who led 4-1 entering the third period.
Semyon Varlamov, who signed a five-year contract extension worth a
reported $29.5 million on Thursday, allowed three goals in the third
period while making 25 of his 31 saves over the final two sessions
en route to his career-best 27th victory.
Zach Parise registered two tallies and two assists, Mikael Granlund
scored a goal and set up two others and Jason Pominville recorded
his team-best 22nd tally for the Wild. Rookie Darcy Kuemper allowed
four goals on 23 shots in his ninth straight start before being
replaced by Niklas Backstrom, who stopped eight of the nine shots he
Moments after Colorado's Jamie McGinn placed a monster hit on
Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser, Mitchell crossed the blue line
and whistled a low shot past Kuemper's stick at 1:43 of the second
period to snap a 1-1 tie. Stastny's third goal in four games
occurred when he knocked in the rebound of defenseman Erik Johnson's
shot at 9:17 of the middle session.
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After Talbot made it 4-1 with 4:34 left in the second, Parise scored
at 7:47 of the third and set up Granlund's goal 5:04 later for his
seventh point in the last two games. Pominville scored 11 seconds
after MacKinnon converted a breakaway with 2:25 remaining for his
19th goal, but the Wild could not get the equalizer.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Colorado C Matt Duchene notched two assists to give
him 25 points in his last 24 games, including one goal and 10 points
in 14 contests this month. ... The Avalanche, who improved to 28-1-3
when scoring first, increased their lead over the Wild for the third
and final playoff spot in the Central Division to nine points, but
Minnesota has a four-point lead over Phoenix for a wild-card berth.
... Colorado LW Cody McLeod fought Minnesota D Clayton Stoner in the
first period, and the five penalty minutes tied him with Adam Foote
for the most in Avalanche history with 948.
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