By Brian Hill, Associated Press
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Some time off proved beneficial for Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk. A game against the lowly Colorado Avalanche was the answer for the Wild’s offense.
Dubnyk stopped 30 shots, Erik Haula had a goal and assist and Minnesota beat Colorado 5-2 Sunday.
Martin Hanzal, Jared Spurgeon, Zach Parise and Jordan Schroeder also scored for the Wild, who recovered from a tough 3-0 loss at Nashville a day earlier with a resounding win against the NHL’s worst team.
“I thought it was a great response to last game to come out like that,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “No matter what the standings say, I thought was really good. . We had enough to hang on and Duby played good to save us in the third period, I thought.”
Minnesota was outshot 11-2 in the third and 27-13 over the final two periods, but Dubnyk helped the Wild remain seven points ahead of St. Louis for second place in the Central Division and close to within seven points of first-place Chicago.
After taking a loss in seven of his previous eight starts, Dubnyk was held out of the past two games.
“Yeah, it’s good to take a step back,” Dubnyk said. “Any time there’s a disappointing game, I always like to get back in there right away, just so you can forget about it. It was good.”
Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen scored for Colorado, which has lost eight of nine overall and 10 in a row on the road. The Avalanche have a league-low 45 points this season.
“It’s disappointing because if you look at the last game we played at home right before we got here at the Pepsi Center versus St. Louis, we played a solid game,” Landeskog said. “We keep doing it to ourselves this year where we’ll have a solid game and then we can’t seem to follow it up. I don’t really have the answer for it, but that goes to show you that we have a lot of work to do.”
Calvin Pickard started in goal for Colorado but was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Jeremy Smith made 11 saves in relief.
“I didn’t think Pick was very good tonight,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We weren’t playing our best at the time and I didn’t think he was either, so to change it and see if we could get a little life out of it, that was the idea.”
The Wild were slowly showing life after a March swoon that all but locked them into second place in the division after leading the Central much of the season. Minnesota had points in three straight games and beat Ottawa in its last home game.
Then being shutout at Nashville had Boudreau a bit short-tempered prior to Sunday’s game.
Hanzal had his third goal in 17 games with Minnesota to open the scoring five minutes into the game and Spurgeon scored his 10th of the season 23 seconds later.
“We got a nice lead and we’re a tough team to beat when we have the lead and are in control,” Schroeder said. “It’s got to be our mindset; to come out every single night and not wait for something to happen but go make things happen. We were able to put up some good goals, a number of goals tonight, so let’s build off it.”
The Wild have 13 players with at least 10 goals, tied for the most of any team in the NHL.
Rantanen scored his team-leading 18th goal of the year, his fourth goal in six games, while Landeskog scored for the first time in 13 games.