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Avalanche bury Wild with big second period, survive late comeback

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The Wild can't seem to figure out Colorado this year, as they're now 0-4-1 against the Avalanche after dropping a 5-4 decision in Denver Thursday night.

After Colorado's leading-scorer Ryan O'Reilly and Wild winger Zach Parise exchanged goals in the first-period, the Aves scored three times in the second-period to build a three goal lead heading into the final 20-minute session.

Minnesota battled back, getting within one goal thanks to third-period goals from Parise and Mikael Granlund. But the NHL's top-scoring rookie, Colorado's Nathan Mackinnon, scored with two-and-a-half minutes left, making Jason Pominville's 22nd of the year 11 seconds later meaningless.

Wild starting goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper was pulled after giving up the third second-period goal to Colorado, their fourth of the game, giving way to Niklas Backstrom, who stopped nine of 10 shots he faced.

The Avalanche remain hot, winning their 11th game in their last 15, while Minnesota ends January on a sour note.

The Wild return to the ice Saturday in Calgary, a 9 p.m. puck drop.

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