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(Thursday, March 14th)
Final Score: Minnesota 5, Colorado 3
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Mikko Koivu scored two goals and Ryan Suter collected three assists as the Minnesota Wild topped the road-weary Colorado Avalanche, 5-3, in the opener of a home-and-home set.
Devin Setoguchi, Torrey Mitchell and Jonas Brodin also lit the lamp for the Wild, who have won three of their last four games. Zach Parise and Matt Cullen each had two helpers, while Niklas Backstrom finished with 29 saves.
"I thought we did a good job on the forecheck and creating chances," Parise said.
PA Parenteau had two goals for Colorado, which has gone 0-5-3 in its last eight games away from Pepsi Center. Semyon Varlamov, who is still winless on the road this season, made 35 saves.
After trading goals in the opening 20 minutes, the Wild took control in the second period.
Setoguchi's rebound putback made it 2-1 at the 8:01 mark, then the 19-year-old Brodin -- the youngest active defenseman in the league -- made it a two-goal differential 1:42 later with his first NHL tally.
The Swede beat Varlamov with a sizzling wrister from the left circle.
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog provided a quick response, however, converting Ryan O'Reilly's pass 23 seconds after Minnesota went up 3-1.
The Wild regained their two-goal cushion at 11:12, when Koivu finished off a nifty passing play. Parise took a return feed from Suter before dishing across the slot to Koivu, who fired the puck into an open net.
"They outworked us in that second period...they won more battles," said Colorado head coach Joe Sacco.
The Avalanche pulled to within one again in the third. Erik Johnson intentionally fired the puck hard off the end boards and Parenteau slammed home the carom in the slot at 6:43 to make it a 4-3 game.
Koivu then iced the game with an empty-netter inside the final minute.
Mitchell opened the scoring 3:04 into the game, but Parenteau fired a shot that fluttered over Backstrom for a power-play goal with 25.4 seconds to play in the first period.
The teams will meet again Saturday in Denver ...The Wild were 0-for-4 on the power play. They had scored one goal with the man advantage in five straight games ... Colorado entered play with the league's worst road penalty-kill percentage (66.0) ... Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk was activated from injured reserve and returned to the lineup after missing five games with a torso injury.
03/14 23:50:28 ET