- Associated Press - Saturday, March 20, 2021

DENVER (AP) - Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves, Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 6-0 on Saturday.

Cale Makar had a goal and an assist, Nathan MacKinnon had three assists and Mikko Rantanen scored his third goal in two games. Tyler Jost, Devon Toews and Valeri Nichushkin also scored.

Grubauer completed his fifth shutout of the season and the 16th of his career. The 29-year-old tied his career high with his 18th win.

“This entire homestand, we’ve been real competitive and worked real hard and really paid attention to all the little things that we talk about all the time,” Landeskog said.

Wild goaltender Kappo Kahkonen had his personal nine-game winning streak snapped. He stopped 36 shots.

Minnestoa defenseman Matt Dumba was scratched with a lower-body injury suffered when he went into the boards skates first Thursday night in a 5-1 loss to Colorado. Wild coach Dean Evason said Friday the injury “is better than it looked.”

Minnesota came to Denver on a roll but was dominated in two losses. The Wild were outshot 97-51 in the two games and outscored 11-1 to fall three points behind the Avalanche in the West Division.

“These two games we played, we got a lesson on how to play hockey. They played real well, and we didn’t really have an answer for them,” Minnesota forward Mats Zuccarello said. “They were better than us in every aspect of the game, and it’s hard but you have to be honest with yourself. These two games are not acceptable. It’s not like we didn’t work hard or anything, they were smarter than us.”

Makar and Landeskog scored in the first period to give Colorado the early lead. Rantanen scored his 17th of the season 46 seconds into the third, Jost added his second at 1:53 and Toews scored at 18:47 to make it 5-0. Nichushkin scored in the third.

Colorado’s top line of MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen combined for 17 points in the two games against the Wild.

“With the way those guys can skate, with MacKinnon going through the middle of the ice with so much speed, it’s really tough to have good gaps. Feels like everyone’s backing off a little bit,” Minnesota forward Zach Parise said. “Once they get in the zone, the chemistry between them, they’re always moving, each one of them is tough to knock off the puck. When they’re on, it feels like they’re constantly on a power play when they’re on the ice.”


Before the game, Colorado acquired Jonas Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres to stabilize its goaltending. Johansson was 0-5-1 in seven games for the Sabres this season, with a 3.79 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage.

The Avalanche have relied heavily on Grubauer with Pavel Francouz on the long-term injury list and Hunter Miska struggling.

“We’ll look at him here first and make a decision on what our plan is for him,” coach Jared Bednar said. “From all the things that we’ve heard, our guys have scouted him and seen him play mostly in the American League in years past. He’s been on a steady progression getting better and on a good development path.”

Colorado sent a sixth-round pick to Buffalo.

NOTES: Minnesota D Carson Soucy returned to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a hit against Arizona on Tuesday night.


Wild: Host Anaheim on Monday night.

Avalanche: At Arizona on Monday night.


More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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