The Sports Xchange, Published April 20 2014
Avalanche defeat Wild for 2-0 lead in playoff seriesDENVER – Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny had a goal and three assists each, left winger Gabe Landeskog had two goals and the Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots for the Avalanche, who are 12-0 when winning the first two games of a series since moving to Colorado in 1995.
Game 3 is Monday in Minnesota, where the Wild hope to figure out how to stop Colorado’s top line.
MacKinnon and Stastny have seven points each and Landeskog has three goals in the series.
Their play Saturday chased Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov late in the second period after he allowed three goals on 14 shots.
Goalie Darcy Kuemper came on and had 14 saves before coming off for an extra skater with 2:26 left and Minnesota down 3-1.
Defenseman Marco Scandella scored to make it a one-goal game with 1 minute 19 seconds left, but Stastny scored into the empty net with 15 seconds left.
Center Charlie Coyle also scored for the Wild, who have lost five straight playoff games to Colorado dating back to the 2008 season.
Landeskog broke a tie with a goal 2:58 into the second, when he took a drop pass from MacKinnon and beat Bryzgalov with a high shot to make 2-1.
Nine minutes later Stastny got the puck from MacKinnon and fed Landeskog, who shot it into the open net with 8:01 left in the second.
That was all for Bryzgalov, who has allowed eight goals on 45 shots this series.
The Wild used an early power play to gain momentum and cashed in when Coyle crashed the net and scored after Varlamov’s deflection bounced off of the center at 4:18 of the first.
MacKinnon tied it on a great individual effort. He skated past two Wild players at center ice, entered the Minnesota end and turned Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon into a pretzel before beating Bryzgalov with a snapshot at 6:20.
Colorado gained some momentum after killing off another penalty, and after starting the game down 7-2 in shots it held an 11-10 advantage after the first.