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Wild whiz past Avalanche, win 8th straight

ST. PAUL, Minn.--For the first time in three tries this season, the Minnesota Wild got the best of the Colorado Avalanche. Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu scored and Devan Dubnyk picked up his fifth shutout of the year for red-hot Minnesota, which ...

ST. PAUL, Minn.-For the first time in three tries this season, the Minnesota Wild got the best of the Colorado Avalanche.

Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu scored and Devan Dubnyk picked up his fifth shutout of the year for red-hot Minnesota, which topped Colorado 2-0 on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

It was the eighth straight win for the Wild, who lost twice to Colorado earlier in the year. Minnesota hasn't lost since Dec. 2 and boasts the second-longest active win streak in the NHL behind Columbus (10 games).

Tuesday's loss was the fourth in a row for the Avalanche (11-19-1), who have won only twice in their last 13 games.

Minnesota spoiled Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov's return to the ice. Varlamov missed Colorado's last three games with a groin injury but surrendered a goal in each of the game's first two periods.

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When the Avalanche bested the Wild in their previous two meetings, it was Calvin Pickard in net for Colorado. Pickard played well enough against Minnesota to help Colorado earn one-goal wins twice.

The Wild peppered Varlamov early and often Tuesday. The Colorado netminder faced 27 shots through two periods. Minnesota's first goal came at the 14:14 mark of the first period when Coyle collected a rebound in front of the net and fired to beat Varlamov for a 1-0 lead.

At 8:21 in the second, Koivu made it 2-0 when he crashed the net and guided the puck past Varlamov for his eighth goal of the season.

Dubnyk didn't face a ton of pressure Tuesday, but was solid when he did. His NHL-leading fifth shutout was his first since Nov. 17. He surrendered four total goals in his two previous games against Colorado this season.

To make matters worse for the Avalanche, defenseman Patrick Wiercioch collided with teammate Matt Duchene while going for the puck in open ice in the third period. Wiercioch and Duchene were slow to get up, but both players were ultimately fine. It was that kind of night for the Avalanche, who couldn't manage much against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

NOTES: Wild F Pat Cannone made his NHL debut Tuesday at age 30. He recorded two shots on goal 9:11 of ice time, and won 5 of 7 in the faceoff circle. Cannone is the second-oldest player in Minnesota history to make his NHL debut as only Lubomir Sekeras (31) was older when he played his first NHL game as a member of the Wild. ... Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov returned to the ice Tuesday after missing three games with a groin injury. Calvin Pickard filled in for Varlamov in Colorado's last three games-all losses. ... Colorado F Carl Soderberg appeared in his 200th consecutive game, the longest active streak on the Avalanche. ... Minnesota F Erik Haula missed Tuesday's game with a lower-body injury. D Christian Folin was also scratched Tuesday for the Wild. ...

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