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National Hockey League

MacKinnon helps Avs fend off Wild

Denver, CO ( - Rookie Nathan MacKinnon's breakaway goal with 2:25 remaining in the third period wound up being the game-winner as the Colorado Avalanche fended off the Minnesota Wild 5-4 at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche entered the third with a 4-1 lead, but the Wild got two goals before MacKinnon beat Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom on the glove side.

Jason Pominville then crashed the crease and directed in Mikael Granlund's pass to make it a one-goal game again 11 seconds later.

The Wild, however, couldn't complete the comeback as Colorado held on to finish 4-0-1 against its Central Division rival this season.

Ryan O'Reilly, Paul Stastny, John Mitchell and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, who prevailed in a matchup of two teams that entered play Thursday with identical 9-3-1 records in January.

On a day he signed a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension, Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves.

Zach Parise registered two goals and two assists for Minnesota, while Granlund had a goal and two helpers.

Backstrom stopped eight shots in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who was yanked from the game after allowing four goals on 23 shots.

01/31 00:02:30 ET

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