Frederick Gaudreau netted two short-handed goals, Sam Steel and Marcus Johansson also scored and the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Wednesday in Denver.
Filip Gustavsson made 42 saves to help the first-place Wild (44-22-9, 97 points) increase their lead in the Central Division to three points over both the Avalanche (44-24-6, 94 points) and the idle Dallas Stars (40-20-14, 94 points).
Minnesota has five wins in the past six games (5-0-1).
Bowen Byram scored a goal and Alexandar Georgiev turned away 25 shots for Colorado, which had won nine of its previous 10 games.
The Wild got the early lead after Matt Dumba sent the puck to Joel Eriksson Ek at the right of the net. Eriksson Ek passed across the front to Johansson, who put it in at 3:34 of the first for his 16th goal of the season.
Colorado got even later in the period when Byram came out of the penalty box and got a stretch pass from J.T. Compher. Byram skated in alone on Gustavsson and beat him with a shot at 10:43.
It was his 10th of the season and third straight game with a goal.
Minnesota went back in front late in the first after Steel battled Samuel Girard for control of the puck in front of the net. Steel was able to kick the puck to himself and beat Georgiev with a blind backhander at 16:02.
It was his ninth of the season.
The Avalanche had a chance to tie on the power play midway through the second period but instead gave up a goal. Jonas Brodin blocked a shot and Gaudreau picked up the puck and carried it past Cale Makar and through the neutral zone.
He stickhandled as he entered Colorado's zone and beat Georgiev with a shot over his glove to make it 3-1 at 9:10.
Colorado got within one when Eller deflected a pass from Devon Toews by Gustavsson at 13:41 of the third, his 10th of the season.
Georgiev came off for an extra skater with 1:55 left and the Wild took a penalty a minute later, but Gaudreau sealed it with a shot into the empty net with 33 seconds to go. It was his 16th of the campaign.
--Field Level Media