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game recap

Wild maintain lead for second in Central

Remain seven points ahead after win against Avalanche

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild maintained their seven-point lead for second place in the Central Division with a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

The Wild (46-25-8) are ahead of the St. Louis Blues, who are two points up on the Nashville Predators for third place in the division after a 4-1 victory against Nashville on Sunday.

Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves for Minnesota, which is 3-8-2 in its past 13 games but needs two points to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Wild highlights

 

"I thought it was a great response to [our] last game [3-0 loss at Nashville on Saturday] to come out like that no matter what the standings say," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought we started to run a little low on gas after that, but we had enough to hang on and [Dubnyk] played good to save us in the third period I thought."

The Wild scored twice in 23 seconds during the first period. Martin Hanzal scored his third goal since joining the Wild at 5:04 and Jared Spurgeon made it 2-0 at 5:27. Spurgeon has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games.

Gabriel Landeskog finished a 2-on-1 breakaway to make it 2-1 at 17:03, but Erik Haula scored with 20 seconds remaining in the period to make it 3-1.

"That can't happen. You get a big goal on the road to make it a one-goal game and you've got to just play solid defensively and that has to be a priority," Landeskog said. "We didn't have a very good start and we didn't really have the jump we wanted to, but that 3-1 goal kind of deflates us a little bit."

Video: COL@MIN: Schroeder goes bar-down with pinpoint shot

Zach Parise scored six seconds into a power play at 3:35 of the second period, and Jordan Schroeder scored top-shelf at 16:16 to give the Wild a 5-1 lead.

Mikko Rantanen scored on a breakaway at 17:09 to make it 5-2.

The Avalanche (21-54-3) are 1-8-0 in their past nine games and 4-14-0 in their past 18.

Jeremy Smith made 13 saves after replacing Calvin Pickard at 3:35 of the second period.

"I didn't think [Pickard] was very good tonight. We weren't playing our best at the time and I didn't think he was either," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I didn't like our first period. We gave them some easy goals and you can't give a team like the Wild easy goals. We did a decent job in the second and third periods, but we couldn't climb out of the hole we dug ourselves in the first period."

 

Goal of the game

Haula took a no-look feed from Mikael Granlund for his first goal in 18 games (since Feb. 28).

Video: COL@MIN: Haula cashes in on slick dish from Granlund

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk robbed Matt Duchene, getting the tip of his glove on a high shot at 8:06 of the third period. "It was one of those plays; they hit the guy going across, and I maybe left my feet a little bit earlier than I would like," Dubnyk said. "That's the street hockey, what you do as a kid. You just break out of the shell and throw a piece of equipment over there, and I was fortunate to get a piece of it."

Video: COL@MIN: Dubnyk lunges for marvelous stop on Duchene

 

Highlight of the game

Charlie Coyle centered the puck for Hanzal, who beat Pickard stick-side to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

Video: COL@MIN: Hanzal finishes Coyle's cross-ice feed

 

Unsung performance of the game

Jason Pominville won all three of his faceoffs and got his 400th NHL career assist.

 

They said it

"To win a hockey game it can't be just one thing good or whatever, it has to collectively be the whole team. Each area we're trying to improve and get better, and I think we've done that for the most part for the last week." --Wild captain MIkko Koivu

 

"We want to get that feeling of winning. That's just a nice feeling to have when you go onto the ice and just expect to win. We've had it for the entire season, and it slipped away for a few weeks. But if we can take the opportunity if nothing else to just get that feeling back this week of just knowing that when we go on the ice we're going to win the hockey game, then that will be good to take into the playoffs." -- Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk

 

Need to know

The Wild reached 100 points for the third time in franchise history. … Wild forward Jason Zucker missed his second game because of a lower-body injury.

 

What's next

Avalanche: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, WGN, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Wild roll through Avalanche, 5-2

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