Avalanche extend point streak to 15 games, beat Wild 5-4
By MIKE COOK
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Nathan MacKinnon, Andre Burakovsky, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher scored in a four-goal second period, and the Colorado Avalanche held off the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Monday night to extend their league-best points streak to 15 games (13-0-2).
The franchise record is 16 outings with a point from Dec. 27, 2000-Jan. 30, 2001, when the Avalanche went 12-0-3-1 during their Stanley Cup-winning season.
Gabriel Landeskog also scored, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots for his fourth straight win. At 12-0-1 in his last 13 outings, Grubauer set a franchise record for the longest stretch with a point by a goaltender. Patrick Roy (Oct. 23-Nov. 22, 1996) and Peter Budaj (Feb. 24-March 23, 2007) held the previous record.
Although Colorado is tied with Florida for the most points in the league, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar knows the recent run of success means little in the big picture.
"Where we are in the standings, first, second, third, we know it's important but it doesn't necessarily make you the best team. That has yet to be proven and has to be proven in the playoffs and not the regular season," he said.
Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists for Minnesota, which had won 11 straight at Xcel Energy Center since losing 5-1 to Colorado Jan. 30. Nick Bjugstad and Marcus Johansson scored in the third period as the Wild tried to rally, and Kevin Fiala scored on a power-play with 35 seconds left, but Minnesota couldn't get the equalizer.
"We competed our butts off in the third period, but it's not good enough. It's not good enough against a team like this. It has to be 60 minutes, can't be 20, can't be 40. It has to be 60 minutes," Wild coach Dean Evason said.
MacKinnon, who has four goals and six assists in his past six games, scored on a breakaway 18 seconds into a dominant middle period, converting a perfect stretch pass from Samuel Girard. Burakovsky buried a rebound of Girard's shot that Cam Talbot couldn't hold onto 71 seconds later.
Talbot made 31 saves but lost in regulation for the first time in seven outings.
"We talked about it a little after the first period that we needed to come out a little stronger, win the second-man races, be first on the puck," Burakovsky said. "We were a little slow in the first and they were outskating us."
Saad cross-checked Jared Spurgeon to the ice moments before scoring on a rebound at 15:48, and Compher redirected a shot from Cale Makar a couple minutes later. The Avalanche outshot Minnesota 20-5 in the period.
"We just had a brain fart and thought we were something else in the second period and we weren't doing what we needed to do to beat that team," Hartman said. "There's a certain way to play. We didn't do that, but in the third period came around and we kind of pushed back and made it hard for them."
Colorado has outscored Minnesota 16-5 in the last three games, also winning 5-1 and 6-0 at home March 18 and 20.
For the first time this season, the Wild played before more than a handful of friends and family. With 3,000 fans in attendance, a "Let's Go Wild!" chant began immediately after the opening faceoff.
Evason said it helped because the Wild dominated early before Hartman scored off a feed from Bjugstad 8:40 in. Hartman then did a small wave to the fans before celebrating with his teammates.
D Kyle Burroughs made his NHL debut for Colorado and dropped Bjugstad in a third-period fight. ... Wild LW Zach Parise, who was removed from COVID-19 protocol Saturday, took part in the morning skate but did not play. ... RW Mats Zuccarello missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. There is no timetable for his return.
HOME AND AWAY
Minnesota began a stretch where six of eight games are at home. Colorado played 15 of its last 17 games at home, and starting Monday, plays 14 of its final 19 on the road.
The teams meet for the final time this season Wednesday in Minnesota.
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Updated April 6, 2021