ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Semyon Varlamov emptied the net with 2:39 left, and a penalty on Minnesota 25 seconds later gave Colorado a two-man advantage.
This time, with a record roaring crowd on their side, the Wild held firm and sent the Avalanche back home with a long to-do list.
Charlie Coyle scored his third goal of the series, and the Wild dominated the Avalanche for the second straight game on their way to a 2-1 win on Thursday night that evened the first-round matchup at two apiece.
The Wild outshot the Avalanche a stunning 32-12, establishing a franchise record for fewest allowed by Minnesota. Colorado has been outshot 78-34 in the last two games, with Ryan O’Reilly getting the only goal.
“Every game is a new game and you have got to always bring that energy and same focus, but I think we fed off of last game and how well we played,” Coyle said.
Jared Spurgeon used a slap shot to get a puck past Varlamov just 3:47 into the game, much quicker than the 65:08 the Wild needed to score in Game 3. Game 5 will be in Denver on Saturday night.
Coyle was in perfect position on a power play to backhand in a friendly bounce of the ricochet of Jason Pominville’s rocket off the glass behind the net, giving the Wild a two-goal lead with 7:05 left in the second period.
Just 30 seconds later, O’Reilly gave the Avalanche their first goal against Wild rookie Darcy Kuemper in the series after 42 shots and more than 124 minutes without one, a long-range shot from the top of the circle without any traffic in front that cut the lead to 2-1.
But that was all they could scrap together on another off night by stars Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog, who were the highlights for the Avalanche in winning the first two games.
“We’ve just got to stay on the pedal here and continue this push,” Kuemper said.