ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Cody McLeod cut the Colorado Avalanche deficit to one in the third, but the Minnesota Wild scored again late in the period and held on for a 4-2 win on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Xcel Energy Center.
Despite giving up four goals, Semyon Varlamov was fantastic in net for Colorado as he made 31 saves, including one on a Pierre-Marc Bouchard breakaway chance in the second period. John Mitchell scored the first goal of the evening for the Avalanche.
The talk surrounding the Wild during the day was on the debuts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, but it was Dany Heatley who stole the show in the season opener, scoring a pair of goals for the Wild - including his 350th of his career.
Parise was pretty good too. 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 of the game.
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 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, Bouchard buried a rebound off his own shot from the bottom of the left circle.
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.