ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Denis Malgin scored for the second consecutive night, Nathan MacKinnon got his fifth goal in five games since the All-Star break and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday.
Andrew Cogliano also scored for Colorado, which recovered from a shootout loss at home to Tampa Bay the previous night. Alexandar Georgiev also bounced back with 41 saves. He allowed 11 goals in the previous three games.
The Avalanche beat Minnesota in the first meeting between the division foes since Oct. 17 despite the Wild holding a 43-19 edge in shots. Colorado had lost three of four, once in overtime and once in a shootout.
“We know the standings and we know the other team is close to us,” Georgiev said. “We knew it was big points for us and kind of every game for us now is playoff intensity. We know we have to get points and get higher up in the standings, for sure.”
Kirill Kaprizov scored his 31st goal and Joel Eriksson Ek added his 21st of the season for Minnesota, which has lost five of six since the All-Star break and been outscored 19-10 in the process.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 16 shots for the Wild.
“We played great. We didn’t get a reward,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “Obviously, it’s a results league and we’re (ticked) off that we didn’t get two points. How do you not feel good about the way you played, right? Yeah, we’re frustrated with the end result and they’ll be very mad and disappointed, which is great. They’ll come back hungry and ready to go in two days.”
The Avalanche made the most of their scoring chances.
Cogliano opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period. Devon Toews brought the puck into the offensive zone and slid a pass to Cogliano charging in. He sent a quick shot past Fleury for his ninth of the season.
MacKinnon assisted on Malgin’s fourth goal of the season. Malgin, acquired from Toronto in December, wristed a shot with Fleury screened for his second goal with Colorado.
Eriksson Ek deflected a shot from Mats Zuccarello on the power play midway through the second. Eriksson Ek has seven goals and five assists in his past 12 games.
“We played good, but it doesn’t really matter when the outcome is losing,” Eriksson Ek said.
MacKinnon answered later in the period with his 18th goal of the season. He had a six-game goal drought heading into the All-Star break but has five goals and three assists in the five games since.
“I feel like he’s picking up his game here recently,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “The bigger the moment, the better he plays. Last night, the night before, I thought he was great and then tonight, he kind of led the charge for us tonight, especially on the offensive side of it. Looked like he had good legs. He’s making plays and getting dangerous on a bunch of occasions.”
The Avalanche mustered just 10 shots through two periods, but it was another tough outing for Fleury, who made his first start in three games. He allowed five goals in his last start against Vegas.
Kaprizov brought the Wild within one with 5:53 remaining on his fourth goal in six games.
Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 1 after recovering from a lower-body injury. He added to the defensive corps, which was without Cale Makar and Erik Johnson.
“It’s unfortunate with those guys going down,” Manson said. “It ended up working well. I was trying to get back as soon as I could. But yeah, definitely worked out having those guys unfortunately go out but me being able to step back in since we went down too many right shots.”
Makar missed his fourth straight game with a head injury. Johnson was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and Brad Hunt was recalled from the American Hockey League. Hunt and third goaltender Jonas Johansson were reassigned to the AHL after the game.
Avalanche: Play at St. Louis on Saturday.
Wild: Host the Dallas Stars on Friday.