Avalanche 3, Wild 1

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Left winger Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal and set up goals by defenseman Jan Hejda and center Nathan MacKinnon as the Colorado Avalanche built a lead and withstood a Minnesota Wild rally for a 3-1 victory on Friday.

It was the fourth win in the past five games for Colorado, which got 27 saves from goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Dany Heatley scored the only goal for Minnesota, which lost its third game in a row.

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The Wild dominated the final 20 minutes, outshooting the Avalanche 16-5, but could not get the equalizer past Giguere. The Colorado goalie improved to 6-0-0 this season.

Wild goalie Josh Harding had seven saves in the first period and 18 for the game, but the first shot of the day eluded him. Hejda, who had gone more than a month without a goal, unleashed a shot from the blue line that found its way through a crowd, beating Harding low.

Both teams had personnel losses in the opening 20 minutes that forced the coaches to juggle lines.

For Minnesota, center Zenon Konopka headed to the dressing room after a puck hit him in the face. He did not return to the game and reportedly was taken to a local hospital with an eye injury.


A few minutes later, Colorado lost left winger Cody McLeod when he ran Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin into the boards in front of the Avalanche bench, touching off a brief shoving match. McLeod, who served a five-game suspension for a hard hit along the boards earlier this season, was given a five-minute major penalty and ejected from the game.

But Minnesota managed just one shot on goal during the extended power play, missing an opportunity to tie the score and capture some momentum. Instead, the Avalanche doubled their lead when a long-range shot by MacKinnon deflected off the stick of Wild defenseman Keith Ballard and past Harding.

The Wild found their way onto the scoreboard late in the second period when Heatley notched his sixth goal of the season, slamming home a pass from right winger Nino Niederreiter.

Perhaps the biggest boost for Minnesota came before the game. Leading scorer Zach Parise, the team's top-line left winger, skated in warm-ups and felt good enough to play.


Parise, who took a St. Louis Blues slap shot off his left foot on Monday, was originally expected to miss two to three weeks. Instead, he missed just one game -- Wednesday's 3-1 home loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Landeskog scored into an empty net with 19.7 seconds left.

NOTES: Wild F Mike Rupp, who missed more than a month due to injury, was given designated non-roster status and is leaving the team temporarily for personal reasons. Rupp, who played in two games for the Wild, is dealing with a death in the family. ... Minnesota and Colorado were rivals in the NHL's now-defunct Northwest Division for a dozen seasons, and have met in the first round of the NHL playoffs twice. Now in the new Central Division, Friday's game was the first of five head-to-head matchups they will have this season. ... Former University of Minnesota star C Erik Haula made his NHL debut for the Wild on Friday. He was second on the team in scoring for the Wild's AHL affiliate in Iowa, with 10 points in 18 minor league games. ... Avalanche C Paul Stastny, who is dealing with back spasms, was scratched for the second consecutive game. He entered the night second on the team with 17 points. ... The Avalanche and Wild will complete their two-game home-and-home set with a Saturday game in Denver.