Wild even series at two
MINNEAPOLIS — Charlie Coyle's power-play goal in the second period proved to be the difference as host Minnesota withstood a late charge to even its Western Conference first-round series at two games apiece.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon also scored for the Wild, who held the Avalanche to one goal over the last two games after yielding nine in the first two contests. Darcy Kuemper finished with 11 saves as Minnesota limited Colorado to eight shots over the first 57 minutes.
Ryan O'Reilly tallied for the Avalanche, who host a pivotal Game 5 on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots before being pulled for an extra attacker with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third period.
Minnesota grabbed an early lead as Zach Parise made a pass from the right corner to Spurgeon, whose shot from the inner edge of the right faceoff circle caromed off the left post and in 3:47 into the first period. Coyle doubled the advantage at 12:55 of the second, backhanding a loose puck in front inside the left post for his third goal of the series.
The Avalanche needed only 30 seconds to halve the deficit as O'Reilly beat Kuemper with a shot from high along the right-wing boards. With a 6-on-4 advantage late in the third thanks to a hooking penalty on Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, Colorado frantically tried to get the equalizer but had many of its shot attempts blocked.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Minnesota LW Matt Cooke began serving his seven-game suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Colorado D Tyson Barrie in Game 3. ... D Ryan Wilson replaced Barrie in the lineup and blocked one shot in 11:22 of ice time, while C Kyle Brodziak filled in for Cooke and registered one shot in 8:34 of action. ... The Avalanche were outshot 14-3 in the first period and 11-4 in the second.
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