DENVER (AP) — Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 shots for his second straight shutout of high-scoring Colorado and Jason Zucker scored his first goal since January, helping the Minnesota Wild beat the Avalanche 3-0 on Saturday night.
Charlie Coyle also scored and Zach Parise added an empty-netter for the Wild, who spoiled the Avalanche home opener two days after routing Colorado 5-0 in Minnesota.
The Avalanche were one of the top scoring teams in the league last season, but haven’t been able to get anything past Kuemper in six periods.
In back-to-back games against their Central Division rival, the Wild have outshot the Avs 82-46.
Zucker scored in the second period, his first goal since Jan. 16. He had surgery to fix a tendon in his quadriceps in March and missed the rest of the season.
Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves for the Avalanche as their struggles in the preseason have carried over into the regular season.
The Avs pulled Varlamov with 3 minutes remaining and when Matt Cooke drew an interference penalty with 2:33 left, they had a 6-on-4. Still, Colorado couldn’t score.
Parise tapped in a goal into an empty net with 3.3 seconds left.
Kuemper stopped everything shot in his vicinity. And even when he was out of position, the Avs couldn’t capitalize, like when Tyson Barrie shot wide with Kuemper on the ground in the second period.
Down a goal heading into the second, the Avs tried to stir things up to get back into the game. Defenseman Erik Johnson went in for a hard check on Erik Haula and ended up delivering an elbow, sending Haula to the ice. Johnson was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit.
Haula had a few words with captain Gabriel Landeskog before heading to the bench. It was the first of several skirmishes between the two teams throughout the period.
Coyle thought he had his second goal of the game early in the second when he lifted a shot over Varlamov, who had Nino Niederreiter sprawled out on top of him. The goal was disallowed and the ruling upheld after a review.
Soon after, Zucker lined a slap shot under the glove of Varlamov to give the Wild a two-goal cushion.
Coyle got the Wild on the board before the capacity crowd even had time to settle into their seats when he redirected a shot past Varlamov.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy has tried different line combinations, trying to find an offensive spark. But nothing has seemed to work against Kuemper, who also blanked the Avalanche in Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series last season. The Wild advanced with an overtime win in the decisive game at the Pepsi Center.
The Wild are now 14-3-3 in their last 20 games in Denver.
NOTES: Minnesota had 2,500 fans show up to watch the game on the new screen at Xcel Energy Center. … The Wild don’t play again until Friday in Anaheim. … The only time Colorado was shut out last season was on March 21 against Boston. … Colorado kicks off a four-game Eastern Conference road trip Monday in Boston.
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