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game recap

Avalanche top Wild, move into first wild card in West

Compher scores twice to help Colorado extend point streak to eight

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Colorado Avalanche moved into the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 5-1 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

J.T. Compher scored two goals and Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves for the Avalanche (37-24-8), who are tied with the Dallas Stars (82 points) and two ahead of the Anaheim Ducks.

The Avalanche have a superior points percentage than the Stars, the first tiebreaker. 

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Wild highlights]

 

"It's not easy, especially in our division, playing against teams that you need points against every night," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "They're all three-point games, but we've done a good job of it and hopefully we can keep it going the last 13 games."

Nikita Zadorov, MacKinnon and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado, which extended its point streak to eight games (5-0-3), allowing two goals or fewer in six of those games.

Video: COL@MIN: Jost sweeps home rebound in front for PPG

"I couldn't care less if we won 1-0 or 5-1, to be honest with you," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "It's two points on the line and that's what we came here to do." 

Mikko Koivu scored for the Wild (39-24-7), who are seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for second in the Central.

Compher scored for the first time in 17 games with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle at 16:22 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

Koivu tied it 1-1 at 13:56 of the second period, but Zadorov restored Colorado's lead 59 seconds later with a one-timer off a feed from Blake Comeau to make it 2-1.

MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 3-1 lead when he scored his 33rd goal of the season 11 seconds into the third period. MacKinnon has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in a nine-game point streak.

Video: COL@MIN: MacKinnon scores 11 seconds into the 3rd

Compher scored his second of the game on the power play at 13:26 to make it 4-1. The Wild used their coach's challenge for goalie interference, but the goal stood.

Jost scored a power-play goal at 18:39 of the third.

Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves for Minnesota.

"Very disappointing for us. I think that's kind of the only way to describe it, pretty disappointing," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "It makes [the standings] a lot more interesting now. I think it could have been a seven-point gap, and now all of a sudden, it's three. It's not the way we were hoping for it to be. Rebound (in) the next one."

 

Goal of the game

Zadorov's goal at 14:55 of the second period.

Video: COL@MIN: Zadorov rings home blistering one-timer

 

Save of the game

Varlamov's save against Jason Zucker at 5:24 of the third period.

Video: COL@MIN: Varlamov denies a streaking Zucker

 

Highlight of the game

Compher's second goal at 13:26 of the third period.

Video: COL@MIN: Compher scores second from knees

 

They said it

"You know what your schedule looks like moving forward, but it has to be one game at a time and for us, we've talked about it for weeks now, it's playoff hockey every time we go out there on the ice. We're playing for the season. We've done a good job putting ourselves in position here coming down the stretch, and now it's a matter of keep climbing." -- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog

 

"I think it just needs one or two to go in, and then good things happen to you. What did we hit, three posts and a crossbar and everything? You have the goalie beat and you miss the net, things like that. You start squeezing the stick a little too tight. Sometimes in those situations, what you need is puck luck. We've been pretty good offensively until the last two games, I thought. So now, we've just got to take a deep breath and these last 11 or 12 games, just go for it from there." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Need to know

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game with a lower-body injury at 3:33 of the third period after crashing feet first into the boards. Boudreau confirmed it wasn't a knee or ankle injury, but expects to learn more Wednesday. … The Avalanche have scored a power-play goal in eight consecutive games. … Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in a seven-game point streak and 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in his past 11 games.

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, ALT2, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, FS-N, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Compher, Varlamov help Avalanche beat Wild, 5-1

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