ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With all the talk surrounding the Minnesota Wild debuts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, it was Dany Heatley who stole the show at Saturday's season opener.
The veteran wing scored a pair of goals, including the 350th of his career, in a 4-2 Wild win over the Colorado Avalanche in front of a sellout crowd at Xcel Energy Center.
Parise was pretty good too. Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped a shot by Parise early in the second period from up close, but the rebound came free to Heatley, who buried his first of the night, tying the score 1-1.
Later in the period, Parise gained control in the right corner and fed Heatley in front. Varlamov stopped the first chance but Heatley slammed home the second to make it 3-1 at 10:01.
Sandwiched was the first career goal of Wild center Mikael Granlund, who redirected a point shot by defenseman Jared Spurgeon less than a minute after Heatley's first goal.
The quick offensive burst erased a miserable first period for the Wild, who spent much of the opening 20 minutes chasing the Avalanche around the rink.
The Avs jumped ahead 2:07 into the game when John Mitchell slammed home a rebound off a scramble in front of Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.
Colorado had two power plays in the first period and almost extended its lead but could not find the net again despite holding a 12-5 edge in shots.
Less than two minutes later, Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard buried a rebound of his own shot from the bottom of the left circle.
Despite allowing four goals, Varlamov was fantastic in goal, stopping 31 shots. Backstrom made 25 saves.
NOTES: Granlund's goal marked the second time in team history a Wild player scored in his NHL debut that also was a season opener. … Heatley's two power-play goals give him 131 since entering the League in 2002-03, two more than New Jersey Devils wing Ilya Kovalchuk for the most in that span. … Saturday's attendance of 19,298 marked the sixth-largest crowd in Wild history.
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