DENVER (AP) — Jamie McGinn scored the first of a four-goal flurry in the second period and Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots as the Colorado Avalanche beat the struggling Minnesota Wild 7-1 on Tuesday night.
Jay McClement, Jan Hejda, Mark Olver, Ryan O’Reilly, David Jones and Cody McLeod also scored for the Avalanche, who have won six of eight to climb back into the playoff picture.
Devin Setoguchi scored for the Wild on a penalty shot early in the third to break up Varlamov’s shutout bid and Minnesota avoided being held scoreless for a third straight game.
Varlamov had 30 saves in a 2-0 win over the Wild on Sunday and simply picked right back up where he left off.
Colorado scored three times in a span of 1:56 midway through the second period. After Olver’s goal made it 4-0, the Wild pulled Matt Hackett and summoned in Josh Harding, who proceeded to be beaten by O’Reilly.
Steve Downie had three assists, while Gabriel Landeskog added two for the Avalanche.
Downie made his return to the ice after sitting out a game with a shoulder ailment. He has been an offensive spark plug since coming over in a deal with Tampa Bay, totaling 10 points in seven games.
McGinn has been impressive since his arrival as well. The gritty forward was brought in from San Jose at the trade deadline and has instantly fit into the Avalanche’s fast-paced style of play.
He had both goals in the win over Minnesota on Sunday and added another as he redirected a shot past Hackett on a power play.
That goal boosted the Avalanche, who tied a season high with seven scores.
Hejda scored on a slap shot, followed by Olver’s nifty goal in which he slipped the puck past Hackett and then tumbled into the goal himself.
Harding didn’t even have time to warm up before O’Reilly slipped a shot past the goaltender fresh off the bench.
Setoguchi finally got the Wild on the board. He was cruising in on a breakaway when he was hooked by defenseman Matt Hunwick, resulting in a penalty shot. Setoguchi beat Varlamov with a shot into the corner of the net.
The Avalanche received a scare midway through the last period when Matt Duchene crumbled to the ice after being tripped by Nick Palmiere’s stick. Duchene, who just recently returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for 20 games, had to be helped off the ice by a trainer and Peter Mueller.
The depleted Wild were without forward Cal Clutterbuck (sickness) and defenseman Justin Falk (lower body). The team already was missing captain Mikko Koivu (shoulder), wings Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) and Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and goalie Niklas Backstrom (strained groin).
Varlamov has been sizzling of late as he’s gone 5-1-0 in his last six contests with a 0.83 goals-against average. The young Russian already has set career-bests in wins (20), games (41) and shutouts (4).
Colorado took the early lead when a rebound off the pads of Hackett bounced right to a hard-charging McClement. He buried it past a sliding Hackett for his 10th goal of the season.
After that, the game quickly turned chippy. There were more twice as many penalty minutes (40) in the opening period than shots on goal (21). Kyle Brodziak drew a 10-minute misconduct after he shoved McGinn.
Even the usually mild-mannered Landeskog got into the act. Riled up over being tripped, Landeskog dropped the gloves and attempted to take on Jed Ortmeyer, but the fight was hastily halted and both were sent to the box for roughing.
This has been a solid season for Landeskog, who’s making a strong case for rookie of the year as he leads all first-year players in shots and is tied for the top spot in goals (18).
NOTES: Avs D Ryan O’Byrne missed his seventh game with a knee injury. The team is hopeful he might be available Thursday in Nashville. … Varlamov played in his 100th career game. … The Wild are 0-4-1 in their last five games.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)