Parise, Dubnyk lift Wild to big victory

Published 10:28 am Monday, March 28, 2016

DENVER  — Zach Parise figured the Colorado Avalanche would try to run his team out of the building early. That’s usually their plan.

Minnesota weathered that first-period pressure and then went to work. That’s customarily the Wild’s plan, and they ran the Avalanche right out of their own arena Saturday — and maybe even out of the postseason picture, too.

Parise scored twice, Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for his 19th NHL shutout and surging Minnesota beat Colorado 4-0 in a pivotal game between two teams contending for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

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Jordan Schroeder also scored and Mikael Granlund added a short-handed goal into an empty net to help the Wild move five points ahead of Colorado for eighth place in the playoff race. They’re even within sight of Nashville and Chicago.

And while the Wild’s cushion for the last playoff spot may be big, they’re taking nothing for granted.

“Until we’re in, you’re never happy,” Minnesota interim coach John Torchetti said. “That’s a great win. We’re going to have a nice plane ride.

“Then, back to work.”

Parise remained red hot as he followed up his hat trick on Thursday night with two more goals, including Minnesota’s first score in the second period that sent the Wild on their way to their fifth straight win.

The whole key, though, was withstanding Colorado’s early surge. The Avalanche applied the pressure and the Wild never backed down.

“They come out flying here, look to take the body, intimidate you a little bit,” Dubnyk said. “They’re always talking. I don’t know if they think it’s scary. But we do a pretty good job of sticking to our game. We weathered the start in the first period, got right to our game and stuck with it for the rest.”

This was a crushing blow to the playoff chances of the Avalanche. They have a tougher schedule with all seven of their remaining games against teams headed to the postseason. The Wild play three of their final six contests against teams with no postseason shot.

“It’s possible,” Colorado forward Jarome Iginla said. “We need to put a winning streak together.”

Down 3-0 with around 9:30 remaining and on the power play, Colorado pulled Semyon Varlamov. Granlund spoiled the ploy by scoring from just outside the blue line. The Wild finished the season 4-0-1 against Colorado.

Dubnyk was hard to solve early and only grew stronger as the game went along to post his first shutout since Dec. 3.