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MacKinnon and Drouin each get 3 points as Avalanche beat Wild 5-2

WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of April 4, 2024
WCCO digital headlines: Afternoon of April 4, 2024 01:48

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists, Justus Annunen made a career-high 44 saves and the Colorado Avalanche moved closer to first place in the Central Division with a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

Jonathan Drouin scored twice and added an assist as the playoff-bound Avalanche bounced back from a vexing loss Monday at Columbus, last in the Eastern Conference. Second-place Colorado is three points behind idle Dallas, which leads the Central Division and Western Conference with 105 points.

Meanwhile, the Wild's slim postseason chances are fading.

Artturi Lehkonen and Mikko Rantanen also scored for the Avs.

Annunen thwarted chance after chance in his 16th career game. The native of Finland won a Stanley Cup with Colorado while serving as the team's backup goalie for part of the 2022 playoffs.

Vinni Lettieri and Declan Chisholm scored for Minnesota. Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson stopped 29 shots.

Colorado took a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Lehkonen and Drouin.

Drouin's goal with 7:32 left came eight seconds into a power play.

Minnesota's Kirill Kaprizov had gone off for tripping, which drew the ire of the Wild bench; teammate Joel Eriksson Ek appeared to get tripped at the same time.

Drouin added his second goal of the night 43 seconds into the second period, deflecting in MacKinnon's shot from the point to make it 3-1. Chisholm answered with a power-play goal with 9:50 left in the middle period.

MacKinnon, second in the NHL in points, made it 4-2 at 6:32 of the third and Rantanen added an empty-net goal with 1:28 left.

Minnesota began the night eight points behind Los Angeles for the second Western Conference wild card. The Kings played later at last-place San Jose.

The Wild have seven games remaining.


Avalanche: Play at Edmonton on Friday night.

Wild: Will host Winnipeg on Saturday.

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