DENVER – Gabriel Landeskog got the last laugh.
Six minutes after Landeskog was slashed by Devan Dubnyk and then got into a tussle with the Wild goalie, the Colorado Avalanche captain broke a third-period scoreless tie with the first goal on the road against Dubnyk since Oct. 22.
The goal, which ended Dubnyk’s team-record road shutout streak at 170 minutes, 23 seconds, lifted the Avalanche to a 1-0 win and handed Minnesota its second consecutive loss despite a hard-fought effort and plenty of scoring chances.
“That was a good game by all of us,” said Dubnyk, who made 31 saves. “It’s disappointing for everybody to put in a good effort like that [and not get rewarded]. There’s posts and shots [Avs goalie Calvin Pickard] doesn’t see and rebounds, and it just seemed like nothing could go in.
“Then we think we scored at the end and they call it off.”
That disallowed goal came with 51.5 seconds left. Charlie Coyle thought he tied the score with a slam dunk into a wide-open net after a deflected Jared Spurgeon shot reached him at the side of the net. But referee Graham Skilliter immediately waved off the goal and ruled that Eric Staal impeded Pickard’s ability to make the save.
Pickard was out of the crease, and as Staal fought his way to the goalmouth to establish position with defenseman Erik Johnson, Staal pushed Johnson into the back of Pickard. Because the play occurred in the final minute, the NHL’s Situation Room in Toronto initiated the challenge process.
Skilliter took a second look and confirmed his own call of no-goal.
“He was way out,” Staal insisted. “I’m trying to get out of the way, too, and [Johnson] is pulling me into the battle and pulls us back on top of the goalie. It’s a tough call in my opinion.
“When I’m battling with a D-man, I’m not paying attention to where the goalie is. You’re just trying to get position. The goalie was in a terrible position. He was way out in the white.”
As for Landeskog’s winner with 9:37 left in the third, it came on a power play after Christoph Bertschy was called for holding Jarome Iginla’s stick. It was the second power-play goal surrendered by the Wild on 31 chances this season and came not long after the Wild killed Dubnyk’s minor.
Dubnyk, who had three shutouts in the previous four games, looked to be in another zone until clashing with Landeskog. After Landeskog and defenseman Jonas Brodin battled in front with Dubnyk trying to see, Dubnyk slashed the back of Landeskog’s leg. Landeskog turned, Dubnyk grabbed him, and the two got into a skirmish behind the net as play went the other way.
Dubnyk got the extra two minutes but kept the game scoreless when he robbed Nathan MacKinnon on Colorado’s power play.
“[Skilliter] said we got the extra because [Dubnyk] threw a punch,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Well, I saw Landeskog throwing a punch, too. The goalie never gets the extra in those things.”
Boudreau was hardly impressed by the officiating, saying there were some “cheesy penalties out there.” Earlier, the Wild had to kill a 1:43 5-on-3 when Ryan Suter and Matt Dumba were called for penalties on the same sequence.
Pickard recorded his second career shutout. The 24-year-old, starting for struggling Semyon Varlamov, made 32 saves, 27 through two periods against a Wild team that was 8-1-1 in its past 10 against Colorado, including five shutouts and a 33-13 goal advantage.
Coyle, challenged earlier in the week by Boudreau, was the Wild’s most dangerous forward. He had the disallowed goal, hit a post in the third period and couldn’t connect on two other terrific chances. He finished with three shots.
“I counted five Grade A scoring chances. That was his best game,” said Boudreau, adding, “It was our best game of the year for 60 minutes long. … It’s not a consolation prize, but I thought if we played like that, most games we’re going to win.”