Minnesota Wild Unable To Complete Rally, Lose To Colorado Avalanche


The Minnesota Wild couldn’t recover from a three-goal deficit against the Colorado Avalanche Sunday. Jarome Iginla had two assists for the Colorado Avalanche, as they won their third straight game. It broke up a five-game winning streak for the Wild.

Last matchup between these central division rivals ended in some rough stuff. Fines were doled out to Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and tough guy, Cody McLeod. Right off the bat, McLeod and Wild forward Chris Stewart dropped the gloves. Both players went on to score a goal in the game.

McLeod opened the scoring with his sixth of the year less than two minutes into the game. Iginla retrieved the puck in the offensive zone after it swung around Minnesota’s cage and past Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. The veteran winger, and Avalanche’s co-leading scorer (his 46 points is tied with Landeskog) then sent a weak shot towards the net that was tipped by McLeod and past Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Colorado didn’t have its first shot until the 14:20 mark of the first period. Minnesota outshot them 11-5 after the first period, and 34-21 over the course of the game. But Devan Dubnyk had a couple funny bounces go by him. Semyon Varlamov was solid in net for the Avalanche until he left the game with under six minutes remaining in the third. He was replaced by backup Reto Berra. At the time, it was 3-1 for the Avalanche. Their second and third goals came from Zach Redmond, with his fifth, and Landeskog, with his nineteenth.

With Berra in the Avalanche net, and Dubnyk pulled for the extra attacker, Thomas Vanek potted one with nineteen seconds left to make it a one-goal game. He put the puck in the open net after a Nino Niederreiter shot found its way across the crease to Vanek on Berra’s left side.

In the dwindling seconds, the Wild had a chance to force overtime. Zach Parise brought the puck around the Colorado net, and tried to see Niederreiter in front, but they never connected.

With the win, the Avalanche trail the Winnipeg Jets by six points for the final wild card spot in the West. The 36-23-7 Wild are in seventh, one point up on Winnipeg for the first of the wild card spots. Between Colorado (30-25-11) and a playoff spot are the Los Angeles Kings, with 75 points, and San Jose Sharks, with 72.

Not to mention a potential injury to Varlamov, who has been great for the Avalanche again this season. He stopped all 44 shots he faced against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, and turned aside 29 of 30 tonight before his apparent injury. He has a .921 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average this season, to go with a 22-17-7 record.

Tonight was Varlamov’s 22nd straight start in net for the Avalanche. Meanwhile, Dubnyk was making his 24th consecutive start for the Wild. He’s played in every game since being acquired in mid-January.

Don’t be surprised to see the Wild continue to roll with Dubnyk against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday in Minnesota.

Whether Varlamov starts at home against he Kings Tuesday night remains to be seen.