After exclusively playing teams from the Pacific Division in the NHL's non-pandemic alignment, the Minnesota Wild was reminded how tough their Central Division rivals are, falling to the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 on Saturday night.
The Avalanche took control of the game early on a series of bad bounces for the Wild. Logan O'Connor's first goal of the season deflected off a pair of sticks past Kappo Kahkonen and gave the Avalanche a lead just over three minutes into the game.
The Wild had an answer when Matt Dumba banked a shot off of Philipp Grubauer's mask for his third goal of the season to tie the game.
Colorado used its speed to control most of the first period, however, and Joonas Donskoi capitalized scoring his fourth goal of the season on a power play to send the Avalanche into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The Avalanche extended their lead in the second period with Mikko Rantanen's seventh goal of the season, giving Colorado a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Down two goals, the Wild never mounted a rally as Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher both scored goals to put the finishing touches on a rough night for Minnesota.
To add injury to insult, Dumba also limped off the ice in the third period, which could cause an issue for Sunday night's rematch with the Avalanche. With the Wild already down Kevin Fiala due to a three-game suspension, they'll look to avenge Saturday night's loss at the Xcel Energy Center on Sunday.