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game recap

Rantanen lifts Avalanche past Wild

Has goal, assist for Colorado; Grubauer makes 29 saves

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Rantanen's power-play goal

MIN@COL: Rantanen pots wrister from slot for PPG

Mikko Rantanen receives a pass, skates toward the slot and fires a wrist shot that beats Devan Dubnyk on the power play for a 1-0 lead

  • 01:03 •

DENVER -- Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Colorado Avalanche in a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Ryan Graves, Gabriel Landeskog and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves for the Avalanche (2-0-0).

"It wasn't our best game," said Rantanen, who has four points (three goals, one assist) in the first two games. "I think defensively we were a little bit sloppy with the puck, especially in the neutral zone and [defensive] zone. Some things we can do better, but obviously, we have to look at [Grubauer] and how he played again. He was making some key saves at the key times of the game."

 

[WATCH: All Wild vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter scored, and Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves for the Wild (0-2-0).

"If we play that hard, you're going to win a lot of hockey games because this is a pretty hostile environment," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "To take them to the wire and give them everything … Grubauer had to make some pretty big saves at the end to keep it at a one-goal game."

Rantanen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 4:30 of the first period after he skated across the slot to the edge of the left circle and shot through a screen.

Bellemare scored his first goal with the Avalanche to make it 2-0 at 5:57 after getting his own rebound at the right post following a wraparound attempt.

Video: MIN@COL: Bellemare jams puck home from side of net

"The difference in the game to me was our start," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "Real good legs early, skating, executing, creating some scoring chances we capitalized on. They pushed back and outworked us for good portions of the second period. The third period we sort of came back to life a little bit. We had a few self-inflicted wounds."

Suter cut it to 2-1 at 10:17 of the first when his shot from the left point redirected in off Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson's stick.

"The first one goes in off our guy," Grubauer said. "If we get scored on, I'll take those any day over getting beat clean. If they need to get lucky or a bounce or a ping pong and it goes in, so be it. It's going to happen."

Parise tied it 2-2 at 8:31 of the second period on the power play. Suter passed to Matt Dumba in the left circle for a shot that went in off Parise.

"When we got the second one, I thought we had chances to go ahead," Parise said. "But as expected, they came out buzzing, which you have to expect in this building. We had looks and opportunities, the effort was there, and we played hard. They capitalized and that was it."

Landeskog put the Avalanche ahead 3-2 at 18:54 of the second, tapping in a pass from Rantanen through the slot at the left post.

"I'm not surprised when I get those on my tape from Mikko anymore," Landeskog said. "I mean, he's been serving those up for years. I'm glad I was able to put it in, especially losing that 2-0 lead. Going into the third period with a one-goal lead was important."

Video: MIN@COL: Landeskog tips home Rantanen's nice feed

Graves scored into an empty net with 40 seconds left in the third to extend the lead to 4-2 after Grubauer made a left pad save on Kevin Fiala, who had an open shot in the right circle.

"I was kind of scrambling around a little bit, I couldn't get up," Grubauer said. "Desperation save. The guys played it really well, they got the puck out and scored. Game over, two points."

 

They said it

"I think we had some good chances. That effort is going to get us a lot of points this year. There were a lot of positives. Obviously, we've got to fix some of the negatives, but it was a solid game. We just weren't able to get that third one to tie it up." -- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter

"I still think we have to clean up our [defensive] zone exits, things like that, coming back as a five-man unit and helping our defensemen back there. We're 2-0 and there are a lot of things we can clean up." -- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog

Video: MIN@COL: Suter nets long wrister off defender

 

Need to know

Dubnyk played his 300th game with Minnesota, the second most for a goalie in its history behind Niklas Backstrom (409). … Avalanche forward Matt Calvert played his 500th NHL game. … Landeskog's goal was his 178th, tying him with Matt Duchene for seventh in Avalanche history. … Nathan MacKinnon had two assists to tie Duchene for 10th place in Colorado history with 250.

 

What's next

Wild: At the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: Host the Boston Bruins on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, NESN, NHL.TV)

Video: Landeskog scores winner as Avalanche defeat Wild

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