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game recap

Zucker's goal in third lifts Wild past Avalanche

Breaks tie for Minnesota, which has point in four straight; Makar scores twice for Colorado

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

Zucker taps in loose puck

COL@MIN: Zucker puts Wild back ahead in 3rd

Jason Zucker spots a loose puck after Philipp Grubauer makes a tremendous save and knocks it in to give the Wild a 3-2 lead in the 3rd period

  • 00:50 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jason Zucker scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period for the Minnesota Wild in a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

After Philipp Grubauer made the initial save on Eric Staal at the right post, he stood up, losing track of the puck, and Zucker jammed in the rebound at 9:58 before Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard could clear it.

Mats Zuccarello and Jordan Greenway scored, and Alex Stalock made 25 saves for Minnesota (9-11-2), which is 3-0-1 in its past four games. It was the Wild's first win against a Central Division opponent this season (1-6-1).


[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Wild highlights]


"We've been playing pretty good now for a length of time," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "If we could ever put a little run together while we're doing all these road games, I'm hoping we're going to be pretty successful when we start getting a lot of home games in a row. So we'll see how it goes."

Video: COL@MIN: Zuccarello taps in Koivu feed for PPG

Cale Makar scored twice, Andre Burakovsky had two assists, and Grubauer made 28 saves for Colorado (13-7-2).

"I didn't like our execution," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "I just thought we had more than a handful of guys that just weren't good tonight. I think we worked and we competed. We tried to scratch and claw our way back into that, did a nice job in the second half of the second period earning enough chances to tie the game, but probably too little too late. You've got to play 60 minutes to win in this League, and not that we weren't trying to play hard, but I just thought decision making and execution was poor."

Zuccarello gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 1:48 of the second period, completing a tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter from the top of the crease on the power play.

Greenway scored 53 seconds later to make it 2-0, receiving a pass from Luke Kunin while cutting across the crease and shooting into an open net.

"I think we did everything we could tonight, but everyone did," Greenway said. "I think everyone played a good game."

Makar cut it to 2-1 with a power-play goal from the high slot at 14:19, and he tied it 2-2 at 18:49 on a shot short side from the right circle. Makar has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past eight games.

"He's a difference-maker for us tonight again," Bednar said of Makar. "We had some horses tonight. I was overplaying a handful of guys because they were going. We need everybody going, especially with some of the guys we have out of the lineup. We need guys pulling their weight, and I don't think we had that tonight. We've had it, and tonight we just didn't. We'll review it and move onto the next one."

Video: COL@MIN: Greenway scores after pretty passing play


They said it

"For us, no excuses at all. The team we have right now and the guys we have, it's been awesome what we've been able to do. Guys have stepped up and played unbelievable roles. I think for the most part, on this road trip, we're pretty confident in the way we played and we're only going to keep getting better as guys start coming back." -- Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar 

Video: COL@MIN: Makar scores after toe drag

"We've always felt that we've had a good team. We've been close but for whatever reason, different things for each game, we've found ways to lose and now everyone's chipping in, doing the right thing, we're getting solid goaltending. It's contagious." -- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter


Need to know

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon had an assist and has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in his past seven games. … Burakovsky has eight points (five goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak. … Koivu has an assist in four straight games and needs one point for 700 in the NHL.


What's next

Avalanche: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, SNO, SNP, ALT, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, FS-N, NHL.TV) 

Video: Wild edge Avalanche on Zucker's goal

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