DENVER (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and two assists and set up Colorado’s go-ahead goal by defenseman Erik Johnson as the Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Saturday night.
Nazem Kadri also scored and Nathan MacKinnon had a pair of assists. Darcy Kuemper finished with 29 saves.
Landeskog’s second goal was an empty-netter at 17:48 of the third which went in off the post on a shot from near the red line.
Ryan Hartman scored his fourth goal of the season for the Wild. Cam Talbot had 27 saves. “We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Landeskog said. “They check hard and they don’t give up a whole lot, so we had to work for everything we got. I think we did a good job of that. We played well defensively for the most part of the game, and we ended up getting the ‘W.’”
It was the second successive loss on the road for the Wild after starting 3-0 away from home.
“You never want to lose two in a row, you definitely don’t want to lose three,” Talbot said. “We’ll go back home, regroup, have our fans behind us again and hopefully come up there and play one of our best games of the year so far.” Brandon Duhaime was in the box with a game misconduct penalty after fighting with MacKinnon when Kadri’s slap shot found the net for a power-play goal that stretched Colorado’s advantage to two goals at 2:54 of the third. MacKinnon was assessed a minor which puzzled Wild coach Dean Evanson. “It looked like a fight to me,” Evason said. “I’ve been in a couple, and it looked like a fight to me. I don’t understand it. They dropped the gloves. They throw punches. It’s a fight, you know? He (MacKinnon) shouldn’t be on the ice for five minutes.”
Minnesota had evened the score at 1-1 on Hartman’s power-play score at 16:54 of the second, before the Avalanche regained the lead 40 seconds later. MacKinnon got hold of the puck along the boards on a pass from Landeskog before passing it back out between the circles to Johnson, whose wrist shot beat Talbot for his first of the season. “It’s been a while with the COVID year and not (much) last year, so it just felt good to get on the board again in front of the fans,” Johnson said of his goal. “It’s tough to describe the adrenalin and the feeling when you score a goal like that at home. If you could bottle it up and save it for a bad day, you want to do that. It feels good.”
Landeskog opened the scoring at 13:03 of the first. Andre Burakovsky shot a cross-ice pass to Landeskog, who lifted the puck over the sprawled Talbot.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Wild recalled defenseman Calen Addison and forward Adam Beckman from Iowa of the American Hockey League. Defenseman Jon Lizzote was reassigned to Iowa and forward Jordan Greenway was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury. … Minnesota’s Rem Pitlick and Mats Zuccarello remained sidelined under COVID-19 protocols. … Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen missed a second straight game and remains day to day with a lower body injury. … Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar turned 23 on Saturday. … MacKinnon has an assist in each of his six games this season. … The Avalanche had killed nine straight power plays before Hartman’s goal with the man-advantage. … The division rivals played the first of their four games this season.
Minnesota: Returns home to host Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Colorado: Concludes a two-game homestand Wednesday against Columbus.
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