The Minnesota Wild ran into a hot goalie Friday, as the Colorado Avalanche got a stellar performance in goal by Jean-Sébastien Giguère to get the 3-1 win on Friday at Xcel Energy Center in the opener of a home-and-home series.
Giguere improved to 6-0-0 by stopping 27 shots, 16 of them in the final period when the Wild dominated play while trying to overcome a 2-1 deficit. Gabriel Landeskog sealed the win by hitting the empty net with 20 seconds remaining.
Colorado opened the scoring 3:45 into the game when Jan Hejda's shot from the point found its way through a bevy of bodies in front of Wild goaltender Josh Harding and into the net.
Harding himself took the loss, falling to 13-4-2 on the season, while making 18 saves on 20 shots. The Wild, meanwhile, had 28 shots on goal, but could not convert.
Dany Heatley pulled the Wild within one at 15:02 with his sixth of the season, a goal that galvanized Minnesota in the third period. After getting just 12 shots on Giguere through 40 minutes, Minnesota had a barrage in the third, but could not get the equalizer.
As NHL.com points out, the loss was Minnesota's third in a row. The Wild have lost back-to-back home games in regulation after losing once in 60 minutes all season before Wednesday, when they were beaten 3-1 by the Phoenix Coyotes.
Wild forward Zach Parise returned to the lineup, four days after taking a puck off his left foot in a loss to the St. Louis Blues.
The teams meet Saturday night in Denver.