O’Reilly Scores Twice, Avalanche Beat Wild 4-2
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Ryan O’Reilly scored twice, including the game-winner with 7:16 to play, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 Saturday night.
Gabriel Landeskog and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, winners in five of seven. O’Reilly had his first two-goal game of the season.
Charlie Coyle had his first career two-goal game for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in five games.
Tied 2-2, and after Ryan Suter’s turnover in the Wild end, O’Reilly sent a pass to Matt Duchene in the right corner. Duchene sent the puck back to O’Reilly who lifted a backhand over the left shoulder of Niklas Backstrom from below the right circle. O’Reilly was back in the lineup after missing two games with a bruised shoulder.
Talbot added an empty-netter with 1:10 to play.
Semyon Varlamov, 8-0-5 in his last 14 games (13 starts), made 25 saves in the win.
Landeskog gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead midway through the second on a display of precision passing.
The Colorado captain gathered a loose puck in the Avalanche end and carried into the Minnesota zone. Just across the blue line, he sent a pass to his left for Talbot who quickly passed to Paul Stastny near the right circle. His saucer pass found Landeskog in front just in time for him to cut across the crease and tuck the puck past a downed Niklas Backstrom.
O’Reilly made it 2-0 at 13:25 when he took a pass from John Mitchell low in the right circle and fired a quick shot that Backstrom got a piece of before the puck trickled between his pads and across the line.
Minnesota had just one shot until the 14-minute mark of the period, but Coyle scored twice in the ensuing minute.
First, he and Dany Heatley executed a textbook give-and-go with Coyle getting behind a Colorado defenseman and sliding the puck through the pads of Varlamov as he faked a deke.
Forty seconds later, Heatley took a pass from Nate Prosser below the goal line and centered for Coyle, whose shot from low in the right circle beat Varlamov on the stick side. His span between goals set a franchise record for fastest two goals by a Wild player at home.
Each goalie was rarely tested in the first period — the teams combined for just five shots in the opening 15 minutes — until Varlamov made a pair of quality saves to stop Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke from in front as the Wild had a flurry late in the frame.
NOTES: Stastny left the game with a leg injury. … Heatley’s multi-point game was his first since Nov. 20. … Colorado D Karl Stollery made his NHL debut. He was recalled from AHL Lake Erie Friday to replace D Nate Guenin, who was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. … The Wild wore camouflage jerseys during warmup that will be auctioned off to benefit the team’s foundation and Defending The Blue Line, which helps military families with hockey costs. … Colorado has played eight games in 14 days, but is off until Tuesday in Chicago. Minnesota is at Nashville Sunday.
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