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game recap

Avalanche defeat Wild in fourth straight victory

Francouz makes 34 saves; Minnesota's win streak ends at three

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Landeskog tallies on rebound

COL@MIN: Landeskog cleans up rebound in high slot

Gabriel Landeskog locates the bouncing rebound from Nathan MacKinnon's shot and fires it home for a two-goal lead in the 2nd

  • 00:39 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Colorado Avalanche extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 victory against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.

Pavel Francouz made 34 saves and Nathan MacKinnon scored for a second straight game for Colorado (32-16-6), which has won seven of its past eight.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Wild highlights]

 

The Avalanche, who moved within three points of the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division, played the second game of a back to back following a 2-1 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It was gutsy effort, hard-fought game," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "I think they had a little bit more jump in their legs tonight; you know, us coming in on the back to back, they played hard. … We get an even-strength goal, power-play goal, shorthanded goal, had to kill some big penalties. ... Pretty good effort by our guys.

"Execution was not where it needs to be, but I thought [Francouz] was really good in goal when we needed him."

Video: COL@MIN: MacKinnon threads PPG through traffic

Jared Spurgeon and Kevin Fiala each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota (26-23-6), which had won three in a row. Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves.

The Wild trail the Calgary Flames by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"That one hurt for sure, and it's a division game too," Fiala said. "We have to move forward. … I think it's the will. We know where we are. We don't need motivation, that's for sure. I think the way we've been playing this week, we can beat anybody. We just have to do it every game.

"There's still a lot of games left. We still believe."

All five goals in the game were scored in the second period.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare beat Dubnyk with a slap shot from beyond the left face-off circle for a shorthanded goal that gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 1:37.

Video: COL@MIN: Bellemare nets big blast for SHG

Spurgeon tied it 1-1 on the power play when he one-timed Zach Parise's pass at 4:38.

MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead with a power play goal on a shot from the left circle that got past a screened Dubnyk at 7:22, and Landeskog made it 3-1 when he scored on his own rebound at 10:36.

Fiala worked his way to the middle and scored a power-play goal at 17:31 for the 3-2 final.

Francouz made 10 saves in the third period.

"He was as solid as ever," Avalanche forward Matt Calvert said of Francouz, who made his first start since Jan. 20. "Every time we've called his name this year, he's been great for us. I think we could have helped him out a little bit more at times, but he held us in there and gave us a chance to win."

Video: COL@MIN: Francouz flashes the leather on Fiala

Colorado finished 4-1-0 on its five-game road trip and will play its next five at home.

"To take 4-1 on this road trip, especially this one against a division opponent, these are always important," Landeskog said. "[I'm] happy with the way we're playing right now."

 

They said it

"We followed [the win Saturday] up with another character win tonight. Minnesota's beaten a lot of good teams and they're fighting for their playoff lives, so it's good to get points on the road again and [we're] heading home for a pretty good stretch here. We're excited." -- Avalanche forward Matt Calvert

"It was a playoff hockey game, like all of them are going to be from this stage on. We came up short." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Need to know

Avalanche center Nazem Kadri left in the third period with a lower-body injury. Bednar did not have an update after the game. ... MacKinnon has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. … Calvert had an assist on Bellemare's goal for his 200th NHL point. … Landeskog has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past five games. … Fiala has four goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. … Parise has 399 assists in his NHL career and has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past 10 games.

 

What's next

Avalanche: Host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

Wild: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Avalanche edge Wild, 3-2, for fourth straight win

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