Wild players accomplished what few others have this season.
They quieted the Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.
The most potent line in hockey, which racked up 10 points — run-of-the-mill for this trio — Friday night, was limited to just two.
And the Wild was rewarded accordingly, securing a 3-2 decision Saturday in front of 19,093 at Xcel Energy Center for the team’s fifth straight victory.
“We got a feisty group,” center Eric Staal said. “Guys are competitive, and this is a tough building to play in as a road team. Big win.”
Winger Mikael Granlund and defenseman Jonas Brodin were among the contingent dispatched to contain the Avalanche’s offensive leaders, and not only did they deliver, they also chipped in at the other end — with Granlund scoring and setting up another and Brodin getting credit for the clincher, a shorthanded throw almost the entire length of the ice into an empty net with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third.
“I went for it, and I got lucky,” said Brodin, who also scored the game-winner Thursday against the Kings.
That put the Wild ahead 3-1 before Landeskog finished a Rantanen assist at 19:18.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk ended up with 30 saves, helping the Wild match its longest win streak from last season in October.
“I feel like our game’s gotten better each game,” Dubnyk said.
Neutralizing Colorado’s top unit was the plan, and the Wild executed it — even though it flirted with disaster since the team gave the Avalanche’s playmakers exactly what the Wild was trying to eliminate — time and space — on numerous power-play chances.
But the Wild prevailed; it negated two first-period penalties and exited the period trailing just 1-0.
A loose puck after an offensive-zone draw squirted out to defenseman Mark Barberio, and he wove a shot through traffic and Dubnyk’s five-hole at 5:54.
Early in the second, the Wild killed off two more Avalanche power plays — including 45 seconds of 5-on-3 time. Overall, the unit went a spotless 6-for-6 — this after it went 4-for-4 Thursday in the 4-1 win over the Kings.
“Guys are working hard,” Dubnyk said.
That performance buoyed the Wild until it started to test Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov more frequently.
Only two seconds after one of its power plays expired, the team finally capitalized when Granlund roofed a shot in tight over Varlamov at 7:15 of the second.
Colorado’s top three, meanwhile, remained a footnote in the action.
“They clogged up the neutral zone really well,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of his players. “They pursued. They didn’t allow MacKinnon for the most part to carry the puck from end to end and make those dazzling plays that he’s so used to making.”
The Wild’s top talent was much more effective and finally resolved a 1-1 tie 10:16 into the third.
After blanking on its first four power-play looks and shortly after a hit from defenseman Matt Dumba on center Alexander Kerfoot energized the arena, the Wild switched up its all-lefty unit by subbing in center Charlie Coyle for winger Nino Niederreiter. The change paid off, with Granlund feeding Staal for a one-timer in the slot. Varlamov totaled 25 saves.
“It opened up a little bit different of a threat,” Staal said of the change. “I found myself pretty loose there. It kind of rolled up as I took a swing at it, but I’ve scored much worse.”
Granlund stretched his point streak to seven games — a span in which he has accumulated nine points. He has three goals in his past three games.
“Granny was our catalyst all night long,” Boudreau said.