Avalanche keep goalie-challenged Wild winless in 6-3 victory


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Mikko Rantanen scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Nathan Mackinnon had a goal and two assists for the Colorado Avalanche, who beat Minnesota 6-3 on Monday night to keep the Wild winless.

Ben Meyers and Samuel Girard scored in the first period for the Avalanche to put the first start for Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson with his new team in immediate trouble. Josh Manson added an insurance goal for the Avs in the third period, and Valeri Nichushkin tacked on an empty-netter.

Kirill Kaprizov’s second score of the game brought the Wild back within one a few minutes later, but Alexandar Georgiev stayed strong down the stretch in Colorado’s net and finished with 36 saves. After Freddy Gaudreau missed an open net on a short-handed rush, Mackinnon scored on the power play on the other end to seal it.

Joel Eriksson Ek had the tying goal on a power play redirection in the second period and Calen Addison had three primary assists, but the Wild still fell to 0-3-0. Gustavsson stopped 32 shots.

After allowing 14 goals over their first two games, the most in any such stretch in franchise history, the Wild badly needed every skater to sharpen their play and improve their decision-making in the defensive zone. Facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche was far from the ideal scenario for this test, even with captain Gabriel Landeskog still out with a lower body injury.

Minnesota’s season started rather ominously with a 7-3 defeat by to the New York Rangers on Thursday. After Marc-Andre Fleury allowed 11 goals on 49 shots over his first four periods, he was pulled at the first intermission in a 7-6 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday. The Kings scored three times in 20 shots on Gustavsson.

Gustavsson never saw the first goal, just 3:30 into the game when Erik Johnson ping-ponged a shot off the stick of Kurtis MacDermid that hit Meyers with his back to the net in traffic in the circle.

Johnson flashed a surprised smile at his teammates in a moment of uncertainty about the celebration, but the rookie Meyers — who played in five games for the Avs last spring after leaving the University of Minnesota — was credited with his second career goal in his home state.


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