Sports - Colorado Avalanche

Apr 20, 2014 12:58 AM by Posted by Greg Smith

Avalanche top Wild, grab 2-0 series lead

DENVER -- Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny each had four points Saturday and Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals to give the Colorado Avalanche a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.

The Landeskog-Stastny-MacKinnon line combined for 10 points and goalie Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves as the Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series. Game 3 is Monday at the Xcel Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN, FS-N, ALT).

The Landeskog- Stastny-MacKinnon unit had three goals and five assists in the first two periods, when the Avalanche built a 3-1 lead and chased Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who permitted two second-period goals on three shots.

The Wild pulled within 3-2 with 1:19 left in regulation on a shorthanded goal by Marco Scandella, but the Avalanche put the game away when Stastny, assisted by MacKinnon, scored into an empty net with 14.2 seconds to go.

Landeskog scored his second and third goals of the series, MacKinnon had a spectacular first-period goal and three assists, and Stastny contributed three assists before his empty-netter.

Landeskog broke a 1-1 tie at 2:58 of the second period. Stastny got the puck to MacKinnon, who left a drop pass for Landeskog in the right circle for a shot over Bryzgalov's glove into the top corner of the net.

Landeskog scored again three seconds after the Wild finished killing off an Avalanche power play. Landeskog sped down left wing into the bottom of the circle and passed back to Stastny, who spun around to get the puck to Landeskog in the slot for a shot into a half-open net at 11:59.

Wild coach Mike Yeo replaced Bryzgalov, who allowed three goals on 14 shots, with Darcy Kuemper, who missed the previous eight games because of an upper-body injury. Kuemper stopped all six shots he faced to close out the period and the Wild killed off a late Avalanche power play to keep the deficit at two goals.

The Wild came out hard and opened the scoring at 4:18 on Charlie Coyle's second goal of the series. Mikko Koivu skated along the left-wing boards past Stastny and took a shot that Varlamov stopped with his stick. Coyle was driving to the net with Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda; the puck bounced off Coyle and across the goal line.

The Avalanche tied the game at 6:20 on an electrifying goal by MacKinnon, who had three assists in Game 1. After taking a pass from Stastny just inside the Colorado blue line, MacKinnon skated past Koivu, sped into the Minnesota zone, stepped around defenseman Jared Spurgeon into the right circle and fired the puck past Bryzgalov's right arm for his first playoff goal.

The Avalanche killed off all three Wild power plays, two in the first period.



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