Wild Beat Avalanche 4-1, Earn Home-Ice In 1st Round Of Playoffs – WCCO

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) —Kirill Kaprizov had a purpose and an help and the Minnesota Wild clinched home-ice benefit within the first spherical of the playoffs by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 Friday evening.

Jordan Greenway had two targets and Tyson Jost additionally scored for the Wild (53-22-7), who wanted one level to ensure opening the postseason on the Xcel Vitality Heart the place it gained a franchise-record 31 video games.

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Ending second within the Central Division, Minnesota is 10-1-2 in its previous 13 video games and 21-3-4 in its previous 28. Its wins and 113 factors set franchise bests.

“We want to play in front of our fans. We want to start here on home ice. Whatever the outcome was we would’ve dealt with it. But this was definitely something we wanted. It’s nice to see us respond,” Jost stated.

Minnesota will face St. Louis within the first spherical starting Monday. The Wild had been 0-3 towards the Blues this season.

“The last couple games going into overtime against them with us being up and them being up, they’ve been tight games. It’s going to be a really good series and I’m looking forward to it,” stated Wild captain Jared Spurgeon, who returned after lacking two video games with an upper-body harm.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Wild, enhancing to 9-2-0 since coming over from Chicago on the commerce deadline. Minnesota’s different goaltender, Cam Talbot, is 13-0-3 in his previous 16 begins.

Nazem Kadri scored and Pavel Francouz stopped 18 photographs for Colorado, locked in because the Western Convention’s prime seed. The Avalanche rested a handful of key gamers, together with Darcy Kuemper, Nathan MacKinnon, the group’s second-leading scorer, Valeri Nichushkin, Devon Toews and Cale Makar, who leads all NHL defensemen with 28 targets.

“In the standings it didn’t mean anything for us, so get a bunch of our guys in that had been sitting out here lately, give them an opportunity, get a big game in against tough opponent. Less wear and tear on some of the guys we left behind who’ve been playing a lot and playing really well,” coach Jared Bednar stated.

Limping into the playoffs, the Avalanche are 1-5-1 of their final seven video games, but Colorado completed with a franchise-best 119 factors. It should play Dallas or Nashville on Tuesday to start out the opening spherical.

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Minnesota scored on two of its first three photographs. Greenway beat Francouz on the brief aspect 58 seconds into the sport earlier than Jost was the beneficiary of Kaprizov’s puck-handling expertise.

Kaprizov, who set franchise information with 47 targets and 61 assists, entered the Avalanche zone on the left aspect, circled the web, crossed excessive within the zone, and began to repeat the lap when he noticed Jost alone within the slot.

The fast begin was tempered 86 seconds later when a kneeing penalty by Colorado’s Kurtis MacDermid despatched Marcus Foligno to the locker room. He didn’t return and can be evaluated Saturday. MacDermid obtained a significant penalty and sport misconduct.

“It’s serious enough that one of the toughest guys I’ve ever seen can’t come back and play,” stated Wild coach Dean Evason, calling it a “terrible, terrible hit.”

Bednar was extra diplomatic.

“Foligno gets a touch on it and tries to get out of the way. I didn’t mind the call. Looking back at it, at first I thought it’d be a two with him trying to get out of the way of it, they clip legs. After looking at it, our guy’s spread out, so I understand the 5-minute major.”

Kaprizov outmuscled a defender to poke within the puck throughout a second-period scrum and Kadri countered shortly thereafter to make it 3-1. Greenway added an empty-net purpose.

NOTES: D Matt Dumba was again for Minnesota after lacking a dozen video games with an upper-body ailment. … Minnesota is 31-2-1 when main after one interval, 35-0-3 after two durations. … Wild LW Mats Zuccarello (decrease physique) missed his fourth straight sport, however Evason is optimistic he’ll be again for the playoffs. … Colorado C Ben Meyers had a loud cheering part. Enjoying his first skilled sport in his dwelling state, lots of his College of Minnesota teammates had been current. Meyers was certainly one of three Gophers’ captains this season earlier than signing with Colorado April 13.

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