Avalanche Defeats Wild in First of Back-To-Back

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jan Hejda, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog scored goals, and the Colorado Avalanche got a stellar performance in goal by Jean-Sebastien Giguere to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Giguere improved to 6-0-0 by stopping 27 shots, 16 of them in the final period when the Wild dominated play while trying to overcome a 2-1 deficit. Landeskog sealed the win by hitting the empty net with 20 seconds remaining.

The teams meet Saturday night in Denver (7 p.m. MT).

Colorado opened the scoring 3:45 into the game when Hejda's shot from the point found its way through a bevy of bodies in front of Wild goaltender Josh Harding and into the net.

Colorado's Cody McLeod was assessed a major penalty for boarding the Wild's Jonas Brodin at 17:24, giving Minnesota a five-minute power play. But the Wild mustered one shot during the long advantage, and less than two minutes after it expired Landeskog's shot from the point was tipped in front by MacKinnon and went past Harding at 4:34. It was the fourth goal of the season for the first player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Dany Heatley pulled the Wild within one at 15:02 with his sixth of the season, a goal that galvanized Minnesota in the third period. After getting just 12 shots on Giguere through 40 minutes, Minnesota had 16 in the third but could not get the equalizer before Landeskog hit the empty net.

The loss was Minnesota's third in a row. The Wild has lost back-to-back home games in regulation after losing once in 60 minutes all season before Wednesday, when it was beaten 3-1 by the Phoenix Coyotes.

Wild forward Zach Parise returned to the lineup, four days after taking a puck off his left foot in a loss to the St. Louis Blues. The team said Tuesday that Parise was expected to miss at least two weeks.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
03:45COL Jan Hejda (3) ASST: Gabriel Landeskog (10), Nathan MacKinnon (11) 1 - 0 COL
2nd Period
04:34COL Nathan MacKinnon (4) ASST: Gabriel Landeskog (11), Erik Johnson (6) 2 - 0 COL
15:02MIN Dany Heatley (6) ASST: Nino Niederreiter (10), Erik Haula (1) 2 - 1 COL
3rd Period
19:40COL EN - Gabriel Landeskog (8) ASST: Marc-Andre Cliche (4) 3 - 1 COL
Three Stars of the Game
Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 16:02
Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 18:00
Erik Haula
Erik Haula
G: 0Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 14:17
Penalty Summary
1st Period
13:23MIN Zach Parise  Slashing against  Matt Duchene
17:24COL Cody McLeod  Boarding (maj) against  Jonas Brodin
17:24COL Cody McLeod  Game misconduct
2nd Period
10:42MIN Clayton Stoner  Cross checking against  Jamie McGinn
12:46COL John Mitchell  Slashing against  Ryan Suter
19:29MIN Nino Niederreiter  Roughing against  Nathan MacKinnon
19:29COL Nathan MacKinnon  Roughing against  Nino Niederreiter
3rd Period
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/20/2
Faceoff Wins2621
Blocked Shots1912
Penalty Minutes196
4T. BarrieD00-11017:29
5N. GueninD0001019:37
6E. JohnsonD0121019:59
7J. MitchellC00-11216:03
8J. HejdaD1032023:25
9M. DucheneC0001019:52
11J. McGinnL0001014:16
15P. ParenteauR0031016:02
16C. SarichD0000018:54
24M. ClicheC011109:09
25M. TalbotC0002021:26
29N. MacKinnonC1114216:02
42B. MaloneC000005:29
55C. McLeodL0000153:37
58P. BordeleauL0000010:55
61A. BenoitD0003019:10
90R. O'ReillyC0001021:35
92G. LandeskogL1221018:00
35J. Giguere2728.96460:00
2K. BallardD00-12015:08
3C. CoyleC00-13020:51
4C. StonerD00-10212:55
6M. ScandellaD0011018:11
9M. KoivuC00-22025:29
11Z. PariseL00-24223:03
15D. HeatleyL1002014:06
16J. ZuckerL0002010:42
17T. MitchellC000008:25
20R. SuterD00-23028:56
21K. BrodziakC0002014:15
22N. NiederreiterR0103212:17
24M. CookeL0000013:48
25J. BrodinD00-10020:21
28Z. KonopkaC000002:23
29J. PominvilleR00-21019:39
46J. SpurgeonD0001019:31
56E. HaulaC0102014:17
37J. Harding1820.90059:43