Wild try to close season series with Avs on positive note

( - While Minnesota's Zach Parise was able to score for the first time in over a month last time out, goal-scoring struggles continue for Colorado's Matt Duchene.

Parise will try to lead the Wild to just their second win over the Avalanche this season on Thursday night in the last of five regular-season meetings between the club.

The 29-year-old Parise had a goal and two assists in Tuesday's 4-2 victory over Anaheim as the Wild handed the Ducks just their second home regulation loss of the season.

Parise had not scored since Dec. 17 and found the back of the net for the first time in three games since missing a month of action due to a foot injury.

Jason Pominville and Mikael Granlund each posted a goal and an assist, while Erik Haula also scored as the Wild improved to 4-1-1 in their last six games.

"I think we were good in almost every area of our game," said Pominville. "Our power play got one but I thought we generated some good opportunities off it. Our PK was good, our goalie was good, our 5-on-5 was good. I think overall we did a lot of good things tonight."

Darcy Kuemper made his eighth straight start and posted 31 saves in the win. Another start tonight would be the first of his career versus the Avalanche.

The Avalanche have gone 3-0-1 versus the Wild this season and have held Parise to just an assist in three contests.

Duchene, meanwhile, has just one helper in the four meetings and has only scored one time in his last 18 games overall, with none in his last four games.

The Avs were still able to come out on top last time out as Alex Tanguay had the lone goal of the third period and Semyon Varlamov made 13 of his 41 saves in the frame for a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Tanguay scored 4:13 into the third as he threw a pass out front that hit off the skate of a Stars player and into the net.

"You know, it wasn't pretty, but those things happen," said Tanguay of the goal. "I had (Paul Stastny) in the corner of the net. If it doesn't hit something else, it probably goes in with him. We'll take those bounces, and Varlamov was great. He gave us a chance to win, and that was the difference in the game."

Stastny, Jamie McGinn and Nathan McKinnon all added goals in Colorado's sixth victory in eight games.

The Avs return home, where they have lost 10 of their last 13 versus the Wild and sit three points back of the San Jose Sharks for fourth place in the Western Conference.

The Wild are seventh in the West, a point ahead of Vancouver and seven back of Colorado for third place in the Central Division.

Varlamov has gone 6-4-1 with a 1.96 GAA in his career versus the Wild.