DENVER (AP) — Nino Niederreiter tapped in the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Minnesota caught a break when a late goaltender interference call disallowed a goal and the Wild held off the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night to tie franchise records for points and wins in a season.
Nate Prosser, Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker also added goals for the Wild, who have amassed 104 points and 48 wins in clinching the second spot in the Central Division. The last time they reached those plateaus was during the 2006-07 season.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 shots as No. 40 picked up win No. 40.
Tyson Jost scored his first NHL goal. Matt Nieto and Francois Beauchemin also contributed goals during the home finale for the Avalanche.
The Avalanche had a 6-on-4 with 1:39 remaining after Christian Folin was called for cross-checking and Colorado pulled goaltender Calvin Pickard. About 25 seconds later, Sven Andrighetto pushed the puck past a sprawled-out Dubnyk. But Minnesota challenged the play claiming goaltender interference and the tying goal was negated.
Zucker scored 10 seconds into the contest to match the Wild record for fastest to start a game — a mark held by him. Zucker also accomplished the feat on Oct. 25, 2015, at Winnipeg. The forward was returning after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.
Niederreiter knocked in a shot off a perfect pass from Eric Staal with 13:17 remaining. Granlund added a valuable insurance goal midway through the final period as Nieto lined a shot that hit off Prosser’s body and went into the net to make it 4-3 with 5:40 remaining.
Jost scored a nifty goal by sending a wrist shot over Dubnyk. Jost’s grandfather was shown in the stands wiping away tears.
The 19-year-old Jost signed a three-year, entry-level contract on March 29 after finishing up his season at North Dakota. He was the 10th overall pick by Colorado in the 2016 draft.
There was a scary moment early in the game when linesman Ryan Galloway was helped off the ice after taking a puck to the face. Wild center Martin Hanzal was trying to flip the puck into the Avalanche zone when it struck Galloway, who left with a towel on his face and blood on the ice.
Dubnyk didn’t go into the season hoping for 40 wins. After all, that’s a big number for a goaltender to imagine.
“If you’re able to get there, it probably means you had a pretty damn good season,” Dubnyk said before the game.
In their final home game, the Avalanche recognized the fans by giving away jerseys, framed photos and even a pair of skis. Colorado has drawn well all season despite its dreary record.
“Maybe it’s not deserved, but we appreciate it all the same,” forward Matt Duchene said of the support.
NOTES: The Wild scratched RW Chris Stewart, C Mikko Koivu and D Jared Spurgeon. … C Charlie Coyle had two assists. … Avalanche rookie F Mikko Rantanen missed his second game with a lower-body injury. … G Semyon Varlamov said Thursday morning he is making progress after undergoing season-ending hip surgery in January. … Colorado finished 13-26-2 at the Pepsi Center.
Wild: Finish regular season at Arizona on Saturday.
Avalanche: Play at Dallas on Saturday and in St. Louis on Sunday to close out the season.
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