Avalanche 4, Wild 2

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 26, 2011
Jan Hejda scored the go-ahead goal at 10:20 of the third period and the Colorado Avalanche snapped a nine-game road losing skid by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Monday night. Colorado won on the road for the first time since Oct. 22 and extended Minnesota's winless streak to seven games. Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and TJ Galiardi also scored for Colorado (19-17-1). Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Wild (20-12-5). Team captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu returned after missing the last four games with a leg injury and had an assist. Instead of traveling to Minnesota on Christmas, the Avs flew early Monday morning. They touched down in the Twin Cities at about 11 a.m. CST for the 5 p.m. game. Landeskog tied the game at 2 with just over a minute to play in the second period when he stuffed the puck past goal Niklas Backstrom's right skate. The banged-up Wild were well-rested after the Christmas break, but saw another player get injured early in Monday's game. Defenseman Jared Supergeon was checked from behind by Cody McLeod and crashed face-first into the boards near Minnesota's net at 5:42 of the first period. Spurgeon was helped back to the locker room by a trainer and a teammate after laying on the ice for five minutes. McLeod was given a game-misconduct penalty and was booed loudly by fans at the Xcel Energy Center as he skated off the ice. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored on the ensuing power play to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Goalie Semyon Varlamov had 20 saves and won for the first time since Dec. 13. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made the last four starts for Colorado. The Avs tied it at 1 at 10:34 of the second period when O'Reilly redirected a pass past Backstrom for a power-play goal. Cal Clutterbuck gave Minnesota the lead a couple of minutes later before Landeskog's goal late in the second. Thanks to their hottest start in franchise history, the Wild entered Monday first in the Northwest Division despite their recent struggles. This was their fourth straight regulation loss. NOTES: Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. ... McLeod entered Monday 11th in the NHL in penalty minutes. ... Heatley had two assists for his first multipoint game since Nov. 8. ... Devin Setoguchi (ankle), Casey Wellman (wrist) and Guillaume Latendresse (post-concussion) remain out for the Wild. ... Minnesota was on the penalty kill seven times, tying a season high.
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