Sturm scores twice, Wild beat Avs 6-2 for 4th straight win

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·3 min read
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DENVER — Nico Sturm led a balanced Minnesota scoring attack with two goals, Kaapo Kahkonen was sharp in making 30 saves and the Wild earned their fourth straight win by beating the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Mats Zuccarello, Zach Parise, Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman also scored for the Wild, who finished 4-1 on their road swing. In all, 10 Minnesota players had at least one point.

Kahkonen continued to be hard to solve — he's turned back 103 of 109 shots during the win streak.

J.T. Compher and Nazem Kadri scored for an Avalanche team that’s dropped two in a row. They were 5-0 following a loss this season.

Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves.

Kadri's power-play goal with 17 minutes remaining pulled the Avalanche to 3-2. It ended an 0-for-19 drought with the man advantage spanning the last seven games. Colorado's special teams also allowed a short-handed goal by Foligno in the second period.

Minnesota put the game away with goals by Hartman and Sturm 1:03 apart in the third. Sturm added another in the final period.

Compher tied it at 1 early in the second when he took a pass from Samuel Girard and sent a shot over the glove of Kahkonen. Both of Compher’s goals this season have come against Minnesota.

The Wild responded with scores from Parise and Foligno 2:40 apart to give Kahkonen all the cushion he would need.

Zuccarello scored for a third straight game. He also had an assist to give him nine points since his season debut on Feb. 16. Zuccarello missed the first 11 games with an upper-body injury.

The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 4, but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.

BABY NO. 2

Colorado forward Brandon Saad missed the game to be with his wife as they expect their second child.

“They went into the hospital last night, so we are hoping and praying that everything is going good there,” coach Jared Bednar said.

TAXI SERVICE?

A packed upcoming schedule may mean the Avalanche utilize their taxi squad. They don't have more than one day between games for the rest of the season. Included in that are six back-to-back contests.

“We’ll just keep playing it by ear,” Bednar said of using a wave of fresh players. “We need to start building chemistry on some lines and throughout our lineup in order to get the production that we want."

CRANK IT UP

Kadri & Co. appreciate the pre- and in-game music turned up loud for an extra boost in the absence of a crowd.

“You try to crank the warmup music up a little bit and just try to focus," Kadri said. "Not much else you can do.”

COLE'S PRESENCE

Wild coach Dean Evason has been impressed with veteran defenceman Ian Cole, who was acquired from Colorado on Jan. 19.

“What he’s brought to our room is leadership," Evason said.

AROUND THE RINK

Wild C Marcus Johansson missed a third straight game with an upper-body injury. ... F Mikko Rantanen and D Cale Makar had assists for Colorado. ... Parise earned career point No. 800 with his goal.

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Pat Graham, The Associated Press