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game recap

Dubnyk, Wild shut out Avalanche

Minnesota increases wild-card lead over Colorado to five points

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves and Zach Parise had two goals when the Minnesota Wild defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Wild (37-28-11), who increased their lead to five points ahead of the Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

"Until we're in, you're never happy," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "That's just the bottom line, that's why it's game by game. Anyone can make up points, you've seen it all over the League. That's a great win and we're going to have a nice plane ride, then back to work."

The Wild have six games remaining and play the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday to open a two-game homestand.

Video: MIN@COL: Parise nets PPG for his second of the game

"We knew it was going to be a tough game, but I think we put ourselves in a good spot," Parise said. "We've still got some tough games coming up and games we've got to win, but we like the position we're in now as opposed to having come in and lost.

"It's far from over, we know that. A lot can happen, but at least now we can control where we go. We put ourselves in a good spot where you want to keep pushing them down."

The Avalanche (38-33-4) lost each game of a two-game homestand and are 17-17-4 at home. Colorado has a game in hand on Minnesota with seven games remaining and play the Nashville Predators on Monday to begin a two-game road trip.

"We've done a good job on the road this year, but that means nothing if you can't get the wins at home," Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "There's no reason we shouldn't be well above .500 at home."

Video: MIN@COL: Dubnyk robs Mitchell with the glove

Dubnyk made 11 saves in the first period when the Avalanche came out hard, but wasn't tested often after Parise opened the scoring at 11:27 of the second period.

"They come out flying here, look to take the body, intimidate you a little bit," said Dubnyk, who has five shutouts this season and 19 in his NHL career, 10 with the Wild. "They're always talking. I don't know if they think it's scary, but we do a pretty good job of sticking to our game. We weathered the start in the first period, got right to our game and stuck with it for the rest.

"The more games we win down the stretch, the tougher it's going to be for them to catch us. We know they have a tough schedule, but every game is tough. We're going to be in the same boat, just have to keep winning."

Parise, who had a hat trick Thursday against the Calgary Flames, scored his second goal Saturday and 24th of the season on a power play at 4:55 of the third period for a 3-0 lead.

Video: MIN@COL: Dubnyk flashes the leather on Barrie

Ryan Suter passed to Parise, who was high in the right circle and had plenty of time to tee up a shot that went by Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov's right shoulder.

Parise has nine points (six goals, three assists) in five games against the Avalanche this season. He has 13 goals and 17 assists in 26 games against Colorado.

"It's just one of those teams, I guess," he said. "I think our team has done a really good job against these guys. Going back a few years we've played some huge games against them; we've always played well here."

Mikael Granlund scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal at 11:06 to increase the Wild lead to 4-0. The Avalanche pulled Varlamov (31 saves) for an extra skater with 9:20 left in the period.

The Wild got goals from Parise and Jordan Schroeder in the second period to take a 2-0 lead.

Video: MIN@COL: Schroeder buries Fontaine's feed

Parise gave the Wild a 1-0 lead after a pass for Colorado's Mikhail Grigorenko didn't connect at the Avalanche blue line.

Parise gained possession, passed to Granlund in the right circle, and continued unimpeded down the left side. He redirected Granlund's pass into a half-open net.

"I guess when they scored that first goal, from there on we just didn't play very well," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I guess we lost our focus and for some reason they dominated the play. We had something good going on and when they scored that one I thought our game went in a different direction."

The Wild made it 2-0 on Schroeder's goal with 21.3 seconds left in the period. Marco Scandella made a long pass to Justin Fontaine, who fed Schroeder breaking in alone for a redirection that hit Varlamov and bounced into the net for his second goal.

"It was nice to get on the score sheet and get one in the last minute to go up two," Schroeder said. "That always gives you some confidence going into the third."

Video: Wild win 4-0, tighten grip on a playoff spot

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