Logan O’Connor and Valeri Nichushkin scored goals, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the host Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Tuesday night in Denver.
Colorado has won two of the first three games in the teams’ four-game set, and the Avalanche earned a point in an overtime loss at Saint Paul, Minn., on Sunday.
Cam Talbot stopped 29 shots and Kirill Kaprizov scored the only goal for the Wild.
The injury-ravaged Avalanche announced Tuesday that their best player, center Nathan MacKinnon, is week-to-week due to a lower-body injury. MacKinnon left the Sunday game with 18 seconds remaining in the second period and didn’t return.
Jared Spurgeon missed the third period Tuesday, leaving the Wild with just five defensemen for the final 20 minutes.
O’Connor put Colorado on the board late in the first period. The Avalanche just stayed onside as they entered the zone, and O’Connor picked up a loose puck below the net and flicked a shot from the side of the crease that bounced off Talbot and in at 17:45. It was his second goal of the season.
Colorado killed off O’Connor’s high-sticking minor early in the second period before padding the lead. Joonas Donskoi’s shot from the left circle went off Talbot, and Nichushkin tapped the rebound at 7:09 for his second goal of the season.
The Wild cut the deficit in half on a power play later in the middle period. Zach Parise fed the puck to the slot for Kaprizov, who wristed it just inside the left post at 13:05. It was his third of the season and ended Colorado’s streak of killing off penalties at 25.
Minnesota nearly got the equalizer while on a penalty kill early in the third period when Ryan Hartman got behind the defense, but Grubauer made the save and smothered the puck.
Wild defenseman Carson Soucy had a great chance late in third, but his shot to the open side of the goal hit the outside of the net.
Talbot went to the bench for an extra skater with 56 seconds left, but the Wild couldn’t get the tying goal.
–Field Level Media