NHL: Wild suffer end to 5-game winning streak

The Wild's five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end Sunday at Xcel Energy Center in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. It was the first time the Avalanche had defeated the Wild this season, and much of the damage was caused by two player...

Colorado forward Alex Tanguay tries to shoot in the third period against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday in Minneapolis. The Avalanche won 3-2. (Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports)

The Wild’s five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end Sunday at Xcel Energy Center in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
It was the first time the Avalanche had defeated the Wild this season, and much of the damage was caused by two players whom the Wild fans love to hate.
Cody McLeod’s re-direct of Jarome Iginla’s shot from the left point gave Colorado a 1-0 lead late in the first period. Then Gabriel Landeskog buried a rebound past Devan Dubnyk for a power play goal 1:19 into the third period that put Colorado up 3-0.
The Wild rallied. Chris Stewart’s goal at 14:04 of the final period made it 3-1. Then, with the goalie pulled, Thomas Vanek scored with 19.4 seconds left.
“I think we had the puck most of the night tonight,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “We outshot them by a wide margin, but you look at the shot attempts, too, we had 35 attempts that didn’t get through to the net. Obviously, it’s one thing to play well, but we’ve got to find a way to score a goal along the way.”
McLeod and Landeskok were the two Colorado players fined for their actions late in Colorado’s loss to the Wild in Denver Feb. 28.
Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped all 29 of 30 shots he faced. Shaken up on Stewart’s goal, backup goalie Reto Berra finished the game, allowing Vanek’s goal. The Wild - which had held Colorado to just one goal while winning the first four games between the two teams - outshot the Avalanche 34-21.
McLeod and Wild winger Stewart dropped the gloves and fought just 43 seconds into the game. But it was McLeod’s goal later in the period - his sixth of the season - that did the most damage. It came after a stretch in which the Wild had dominated the play.
“We played really well,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said after his team’s winning streak grew to three games. “I’m very proud of our guys. That’s the type of hockey we’ve been playing lately, and we understood how important this game was for us. We had to come up with a strong game, and I think that’s what our guys did.”
The previous meeting between the teams, a 3-1 Wild win in Denver on Feb. 28, ended with McLeod leveling Minnesota center Mikael Granlund in the final 10 seconds of the game. Predictably, Stewart dropped gloves with McLeod in the opening minute of Sunday’s game. After an extended tussle, both players received major penalties for fighting.
“We’re a heated rivalry. I’d say this is our main rival right now, and stuff happened last game, but we came out to battle,” McLeod said. “I played with (Stewart) for three or four years, good buddy of mine and he’s doing his job, I was doing mine. That’s the way she goes in hockey.”
Varlamov, who blanked the Blue Jackets 4-0 Saturday night in Columbus with 44 saves, had a scare early in the second period when a rising slap shot by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba appeared to hit the goalie in the neck. Varlamov collapsed to the ice after gloving the puck, and he was attended to by trainers but stayed in the game until Stewart’s goal ruined his shutout bid at 14:04 of the third period.
Redmond doubled the Avalanche lead late in the period with a blast from the blue line that eluded Dubnyk under the right arm. It was Redmond’s first goal since Dec. 23. Landeskog scored a power-play goal early in the third period, his third goal in as many games.
“We haven’t scored too many goals against them this year, and we knew we could,” Colorado defenseman Nate Guenin said. “To get one and then two and then three, it was a great feeling to come out of here with two points.”
“I thought we dictated,” Stewart said. “They got up three goals and protected the lead. I thought the last two we were going to the hard areas to score those goals. We need to do more of that.”
Dubnyk finished with 18 saves, falling to 18-4-1 with Minnesota. With 7:49 left and the Wild on a power play, Yeo lifted Dubnyk for an extra attacker for more than a minute, but the six-on-four advantage didn’t produce a goal.
NOTES: Jordyn Leopold, the 11-year-old daughter of Wild D Jordan Leopold, led the crowd in the “Let’s Play Hockey” cheer before the game. Jordyn gained notoriety when she wrote a letter to the Wild coaches in January asking that they trade for her father to bring the former University of Minnesota star back to his home state. Last week, they did. ... G Seymon Varlamov made his 23rd consecutive start on Sunday, tying him with Craig Anderson for the longest consecutive-starts streak in Avalanche history since the franchise moved to Colorado in 1995. In the other net, Wild G Devan Dubnyk started his franchise-record 24th straight game. ... The Avalanche will play their next three games at home, starting Tuesday when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Denver. The Wild, in the midst of a three-game homestand, face the New Jersey Devils in St. Paul on Tuesday night.

Colorado 3, Minnesota 2

Colorado    1    1    1-    3

Minnesota    0    0    2-    2

First Period-1, Colorado, McLeod 6 (Iginla, Redmond) 18:05.
Second Period-2, Colorado, Redmond 5 (Landeskog, Hejda) 18:09.
Third Period-3, Colorado, Landeskog 19 (O’Reilly, Iginla) 1:19 (pp). 4, Minnesota, Stewart 12 (Brodin) 14:04. 5, Minnesota, Vanek 14 (Niederreiter, Brodin) 19:41.
Shots on Goal-Colorado 5-8-8-21. Minnesota 11-7-16-34.
Power-play opportunities-Colorado 1 of 3. Minnesota 0 of 2.
Goalies-Colorado Berra 2-2-1 (4 shots-3 saves), Varlamov 0-0-0 (30-29). Minnesota Dubnyk 27-9-3 (21-18).
A-19,119 (18,064). T-2:31.


The Sports Xchange contributed to this report.

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