Avalanche defeat Wild, extend point streak to 15 games

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Colorado Avalanche scored four goals in the second period before hanging on to extend their point streak to 15 games with a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Andre Burakovsky and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (26-8-4), who have won five straight and are 13-0-2 during their streak, which is the longest in the NHL this season and one shy of the longest in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history (12-0-4 in 2000-01).

“Where we are in the standings, first, second, third, we know it’s important, but it doesn’t necessarily make you the best team,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “That has yet to be proven and has to be proven in the playoffs and not the regular season.” 

Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves to extend his personal point streak to 13 games (12-0-1), passing Patrick Roy (1996-97) and Peter Budaj (2006-07) for the longest in Colorado/Quebec history.

Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists, and Nick Bjugstad and Marcus Johansson each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (23-12-2), who lost at home for the first time since Jan. 30 (won previous 11). Cam Talbot made 31 saves.

Video: COL@MIN: Hartman one-times rebound to open scoring

Hartman gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 8:40 of the first period, scoring off a one-handed pass from Bjugstad in the slot.

“We should have played the same in the second period,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “And I say the first was good. We still weren’t in their face enough, frustrating them and putting pressure on them as much as we would like to or would have liked to in the first period. We played good, but you can’t get down against any team obviously two, three goals. It’s very difficult to come back.”

MacKinnon scored on a breakaway 18 seconds into the second period to tie it 1-1 before Burakovsky scored on a rebound at 1:29 to make it 2-1.

Brandon Saad extended the lead to 3-1 at 15:48 after corralling a loose puck near the right post, and J.T. Compher deflected a point shot from Cale Makar to make it 4-1 at 17:52.

“You have to have the balanced scoring,” Bednar said. “We know what our top guys are capable of, and they’ll run into games when they get shutdown or things don’t go their way or a goalie makes some saves. 

“Depth is huge and to have those guys spread out like that and scoring goals is a really important reason why we’re on the run we’re on.” 

Colorado outshot Minnesota 20-5 in the second period.

“We didn’t play them hard in the second period,” Hartman said. “We made it easy on them and we kind of kicked ourselves after the second, talked about how to play them, and guys pushed back and we made it a lot harder for them in the third period.”

Video: COL@MIN: Landeskog deflects puck home on power play

Bjugstad shot into an open net after Hartman whiffed on a partial breakaway to make it 4-2 at 3:35 of the third.

Gabriel Landeskog tapped in a centering pass from Mikko Rantanen on the power play to push the lead to 5-2 at 7:22.

Johansson then cut it to 5-3 with a power-play goal at 9:44, and Kevin Fiala made it 5-4 at 19:25 with another goal on the power play and Talbot pulled for the extra skater.

“I don’t think we ever lost our confidence,” Compher said. “We were able to finish it off, but we got to be better in the third, we got to be able to lock it down more. Let’s not let them get to a two-goal, one-goal lead. Play a little bit better earlier in the period so when it comes to the end we’re not trying to keep them from tying it up.”  

The two teams play here again Wednesday. 

“I think we have shown we can play with them,” Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek said. “We know how to play, we’ve got to play them hard. I think they like when they get the game going back and forth, getting time. We just got to get close to them and make them work.”

NOTES: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard had two assists. … Landeskog has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in his past 13 games. … MacKinnon has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in his past 14 games. … Colorado defenseman Kyle Burroughs was minus-1 with two hits in 6:17 of ice time in his NHL debut. … Fiala has seven points (two goals, five assists) in a six-game point streak. 

Video: Avs’ four-goal 2nd fuels win, extends streak to 15

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