ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The last time the Wild hosted the Avalanche, Minnesota let a two-goal third period lead evaporate while losing to Colorado for the second time this season.
Full of confidence and riding high since the loss, the Wild weren’t going to let the same thing happen again on Tuesday night.
Devan Dubnyk made 18 saves for his NHL-leading fifth shutout this season and Minnesota beat the Avalanche 2-0 for its eighth straight victory.
“I brought it to their attention,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said of being winless against Colorado. “As for the source of pride, that’s upon them. I can’t read their minds. I think they took it to heart. I think it was one of those games where the score was a little - what’s the word I’m looking for - it could’ve been worse.”
Charlie Coyle scored his team-leading 11th goal and Mikko Koivu added his eighth for Minnesota, which has outscored its past five opponents 19-5. The Wild have allowed a league-low 58 goals in 31 games.
Minnesota held the Avalanche to just three shots in the third period even as Colorado got four power plays in the period.
“That was an impressive game by us all the way around,” Dubnyk said. “You look at the end of the game and that’s about the tale of the game, we just keep the puck in their end the last minute and a half or two minutes. That was a real good effort start to finish for us.”
Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov returned after missing four games with a groin injury and stopped 31 of 33 shots. Colorado has lost four consecutive games and 11 of 13 while being outscored 49-26.
“I felt good today,” Varlamov said. “But still, we lost. So I cannot be excited or happy about my game.”
Dubnyk entered leading the league in goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.947) and tied with Boston’s Tuukka Rask for the lead in shutouts.
Dubnyk wasn’t enough for Minnesota in the first two games between the Central Division rivals. Colorado had won the first two meetings, giving Minnesota two of its eight regulation losses this season.
Varlamov didn’t play in the first two games.
“We know our history, we’ve been struggling all year to create offense,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We felt like we were still one shot away from getting back into that game and giving ourselves a chance especially the way Varly was playing. Unfortunately, tonight that just didn’t happen.”
The Avalanche rallied from two goals down in the third period to win in the last meeting Nov. 19. Minnesota has lost just once in regulation in 14 games since then.
“I think we’re just playing the way we know how now, and it’s just coming natural,” Coyle said. “I don’t know if it’s the new things in our system that the coaching staff has brought and it just comes more natural for us. We’re not overthinking things. We just know what to do now. We’re playing smooth, playing aggressive and we’re getting the goaltending we need, which has been awesome.”
NOTES: Minnesota F Pat Cannone made his NHL debut at 30 years old after parts of seven seasons in the minors. Cannone had four goals and 12 assists in 29 games with AHL Iowa this season. … The Wild recalled F Jordan Schroeder from Iowa during the game for an upcoming road trip. C Erik Haula missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury. … Colorado F Joe Colborne returned to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury and then being scratched in the previous game. F Andreas Martinsen was scratched for the first time this season. … Minnesota’s win streak is one behind the franchise best, a nine-game streak set in 2007.
Avalanche: Return home to play Thursday night against Toronto.
Wild: Start a three-game trip on Thursday night in Montreal.
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