Avalanche dominates odd second period in 5-4 win over Minnesota

The numbers didn’t add up. But reality proved that it was true.

In the second period Monday night, the Avalanche was whistled for all three penalties, playing shorthanded for 5:06. But when the period was over, the Avs had outshot Minnesota 20-5 and outscored the Wild 4-0 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Red-hot Colorado, which took the first four penalties of the game, went on to defeat the Wild 5-4 to extend its NHL-leading points streak to 15 games (13-0-2). Minnesota rallied from a 4-1 deficit with two late power-play goals, the latter on a 6-on-4 attack with goalie Cam Talbot on the bench for an extra attacker.

Maybe it’s just one team having another teams’ number. The Avs are now 5-1-1 against Minnesota and have outscored the Wild 16-4 in the last three meetings. The finale of the eight-game annual series is Wednesday in the same building.

Forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Andre Burakovsky, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher scored in the second period to erase the Avs’ 1-0 first-period deficit. Defenseman Sam Girard had the primary assist on the first two goals and Burakovsky assisted on Saad’s goal and defenseman Cale Makar had the long shot that Compher redirected.

Forward Gabe Landeskog added a power-play goal in the third period after the Wild got within 4-2. Twelve Colorado players had points, and MacKinnon, Burakovsky and Girard each had two.

“We talked about it a little bit after the first period, that we needed to come out a little stronger, winning the second-man races, be first on the puck,” Burakovsky said. “I definitely think we did that. We were a little slow in the first and they were out-skating us. So good bounce back from the boys.”

The Avalanche (26-8-4) is now 17-2-3 in its last 22 games and has an NHL-high 56 points. Minnesota (23-12-2) fell to 13-4 at home.

Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer got the win for his NHL-leading 24th of the season. Grubauer also set a club record for consecutive games with a point (win, tie, overtime loss). He has 13, forging ahead of Patrick Roy and Peter Budaj, who had a point in 12 straight games in 1996 and 2007, respectively.

Colorado entered a stretch that has it playing 14 of its final 19 games on the road. The Avs improved to 9-4-2 outside Denver.

Footnotes. Rookie defenseman Kyle Burroughs stepped into the Avs lineup in making his NHL debut. Burroughs, 25, played on the third pairing with Jacob MacDonald and became the 13th defenseman to play for Colorado this season. Burroughs was acquired in the offseason fromthe New York Islanders in a trade for forward A.J. Greer. “It’s exciting. It’s been a long road. A lot of time and effort,” Burroughs said pregame. “I’m ready.” Burroughs replaced Dan Renouf, who was reassigned to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. Burroughs is a right-shooter unlike the left-shooting Renouf and the change allows MacDonald to return to his natural left side of the ice. … Boulder native Nate Clurman signed a two-year, NHL entry-level contract with the Avalanche on Monday. Clurman, a junior defenseman out of Notre Dame, served as team captain this season. He will report to the Colorado Eagles and forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility. Clurman, 22, was the Avs’ 2016 sixth-round draft choice (161st overall) out of Culver Military Academy in Indiana, where he played before joining Notre Dame in 2018. He helped lead the Irish to this year’s NCAA Tournament but the team was removed from the 16-team field before its regional opener due to COVID protocol.

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