Wild try to extend recent dominance of Avalanche

(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Minnesota Wild look to shut out the Colorado Avalanche for the fourth time in as many meetings this season as the two clubs square off on Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

The Wild began the season by sweeping a home-and-home set with the Avalanche by an 8-0 margin and the clubs didn't face off again until Feb. 7. The result didn't change, however, with Devan Dubnyk posting an 18-save shutout for a 1-0 win.

Darcy Kuemper had been between the pipes for the two earlier shutouts, but Dubnyk made Charlie Coyle's first-period tally stand up in Minnesota earlier this month.

Dubnyk improved to 9-5-1 lifetime in 16 games versus the Avalanche with a 2.09 goals against average, .936 save percentage and two shutouts.

Minnesota, which has won 11 of its past 15 in Colorado, is 14-3-2 since acquiring Dubnyk in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes, with the latest win coming on Thursday in a 4-2 decision over the Nashville Predators. Dubnyk made 27 saves.

Nino Niederreiter scored the tie-breaking goal midway through the game and added an empty-netter with 1:39 remaining, while Erik Haula and Kyle Brodziak had a goal and an assist each.

"It was an up-and-down game, but I feel we deserved the win," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

The win moved the Wild one point ahead of the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Forward Sean Bergenheim, acquired from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, made his debut with the Wild and skated on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek.

The Avalanche come in six points back of the Wild in the Western Conference standings after picking up a 5-4 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night. Ryan O'Reilly scored the lone goal of the tiebreaker and Semyon Varlamov stopped all three skaters he faced.

O'Reilly, Colorado's first shooter, skated down the right side, cut toward the slot and lifted a backhander over Kari Lehtonen's glove. Varlamov denied Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn and Vernon Fiddler to seal the win after posting 32 saves through overtime.

Colorado trailed 3-1 early in the third period and 4-3 later in the frame, but rallied to win for the fifth time in seven games.

"We were certainly not happy after 40 minutes of play," Colorado head coach Patrick Roy said. "We played better in the third period. That's the hockey that we are capable of."

Tyson Barrie and Nate Guenin each tallied a goal and two assists, Gabriel Landeskog supplied a goal and a helper and Jarome Iginla also lit the lamp for the Avalanche.