ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild are managing to succeed for the short stretches they’ve been home this season.
Jason Zucker scored midway through the third period and Minnesota beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Thursday night.
Mats Zuccarello and Jordan Greenway also scored for Minnesota, which has won consecutive games for the second time. Since losing its home opener, the Wild are 5-0-2 in their last seven home games.
“It's definitely on our minds,” said Ryan Suter, who had two assists.
Of Minnesota’s first 22 games, an NHL-high 14 have been on the road, and its next three contests are in Boston, New York and New Jersey. Still residing near the bottom of the league in points, the Wild have won three of five away from home.
“We're not going to look at the standings. We just have to play our butts off and put ourselves in the best spot we can for a post-holiday run,” said Alex Stalock, who made 25 saves.
Maybe the odd winning goal is that start.
Philipp Grubauer stopped Eric Staal with his pad at the right post and he, Staal and a few other players let up on the play. However, the puck was not covered, instead sitting in the blue paint as the netminder got up. Zucker charged in and pushed it over the red line.
“In order to kind of get back in the standings and get things going, we have to string together these games,” Greenway said.
Cale Makar continued his scorching November with two goals for the injury-riddled Avalanche, who ended a five-game, 11-day trip 3-2-0. Andre Burakovsky had two assists and Grubauer made 28 saves.
Among players out for Colorado are forwards Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Colin Wilson, Tyson Jost and Matt Calvert.
“We need everybody going, especially with some of the guys we have out of the lineup. We need guys pulling their weight, and I don't think we had that tonight. We've had it, and tonight we just didn't,” said coach Jared Bednar.
Makar tied it at 2 late in the second period with a patient goal. He took a pass from Burakovsky in the right circle and held off as Jared Spurgeon slid on one knee for a block. Moving a little left, Makar delayed for a split-second as Joel Eriksson Ek went down feet first for a potential block. Instead of waiting for the slide to finish, Makar whistled a shot over him and past Stalock.
Makar scored a power-play goal on a wrist shot from the slot 4 1/2 minutes earlier.
“He can skate, make plays. He's gonna be a really good player for a long time,” Suter said.
Last season’s Hobey Baker Award winner as the top NCAA men’s player, Makar has six goals and nine assists in 10 games this month. His 15 points are the most in November by a rookie defenceman since Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom had 17 in 1991. Larry Murphy holds the record of 18 in 1980 with Los Angeles.
“I’d like to be his agent. He’s going to make a lot of money pretty soon,” Boudreau quipped.
Colorado has gotten a multigoal effort from one of its players in seven straight games, tying the franchise record set by the Quebec Nordiques in 1983.
Zuccarello scored on the power play less than 2 minutes into the second period, redirecting a feed from Mikko Koivu. Fifty-three seconds later, Greenway made it 2-0 by completing a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play with Luke Kunin and Eriksson Ek.
NOTES: Minnesota G Devan Dubnyk (family issue) missed the game. Kaapo Kahkonen, recalled Wednesday from AHL Iowa under emergency conditions, backed up Stalock. ... Jost took part in the morning skate but missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury.
Avalanche: Opens a two-game homestand Saturday against Toronto.
Wild: Starts a three-games-in-four-nights road trip Saturday in Boston.
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