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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 6, Avalanche 2

Minnesota scores three third-period goals to extend winning streak to four Wednesday night in Denver

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 6-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver on Wednesday night:

1. The streak moves to four.

Minnesota became just the seventh team in the NHL season to win four consecutive road games, as it finished its five-game trip in style.

Despite scoring 11 goals in its previous two victories, the win Wednesday might have against Colorado might have been the most impressive, considering the fact that the Avs are widely believed to be one of the top teams in the West Division. 

And that may yet be the case. There's plenty of regular season left.

But on this night, and now 16 games into the season, Minnesota moved ahead of Colorado in the standings, and for the first time in nearly a month, the Wild sits in one of the top-4 spots in the division ... this with games in hand on every other team in the West sans the Avs.


2. Center of attention.

Ryan Hartman hasn't played much center in the National Hockey League, but the one-time first-round draft pick has the ability.

So, Wild coach Dean Evason moved the veteran there at the start of the trip and Hartman has not looked back. After assisting on two goals in San Jose, he assisted on another on Wednesday, then scored a gigantic insurance goal in the third period to help hold off a Colorado rally. 

Video: MIN@COL: Hartman nets backhander after Kaprizov pass

His assist came on Marcus Foligno's shorthanded goal in the second period, and was Hartman's first career shorthanded assist. This on the heels of his first career shorthanded goal on Jan. 20. 

Since he move to the middle, Hartman has now accumulated a four-game points streak (career best), tallying two goals and four assists during that stretch.


3. It was milestone night in Denver.

It started right away when Kevin Fiala stepped onto the ice for the first time, becoming the fourth active Swiss-born player to skate in 300 NHL games. 

It continued in the first period when, who else, Mats Zuccarello finished off a 3-on-1 rush with a goal, his 400th point in the NHL. Zuccarello is the NHL's all-time leading scorer among Norwegian-born players. 

Video: MIN@COL: Zuccarello nets second-chance goal off rush

In the second period, Zach Parise tipped a Matt Dumba shot for a goal, one that was his 800th NHL point. Parise is the 21st active player and 172nd overall to reach 800 career points. He's the 18th U.S.-born skater and third Minnesota native to reach the round number.

Video: MIN@COL: Parise tips in goal for 800th career point

Then, in the third period, Nico Sturm scored his first "official" NHL goal, finishing off a breakaway chance. He's scored in the postseason, but for Sturm, the goal came in his 21st regular season game. 

Video: MIN@COL: Sturm buries breakaway backhander in alone

It didn't take him long to get his second ... he'd add an empty-net goal less than five minutes later.

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