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(Saturday, January 11th)
Final Score: Colorado 4, Minnesota 2
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan O'Reilly scored twice in his return to the Colorado lineup, including the go-ahead goal with 7:16 remaining in the third period, as the Avalanche came through with a 4-2 decision over the Minnesota Wild at XCel Energy Center.
Maxime Talbot added an empty-netter with 1:10 left along with an assist to help the Avalanche bounce back from Friday's home overtime loss to the New York Islanders. Gabriel Landeskog lit the lamp as well to support a 25-save effort from Semyon Varlamov.
O'Reilly, whose 16 markers are tied for the team lead, had missed two straight games with a bruised shoulder.
Charlie Coyle accounted for both Minnesota goals, which came 40 seconds apart in the second period, but Niklas Backstrom stopped just 14-of-17 shots as the Wild had a four-game win streak halted.
Coyle's barrage brought the Wild back from a 2-0 deficit, but the Avalanche regained the upper hand courtesy of a outstanding all-around effort from O'Reilly with time winding down.
The Colorado forward stole the puck from Ryan Suter near center ice and gave it to teammate Matt Duchene, who sent it back to O'Reilly before the latter sent a wicked backhander over Backstrom's shoulder.
"[Duchene] made a great pass to me there, gave me enough time to do something with it," said O'Reilly of the goal.
Backstrom was pulled for an extra attacker with under two minutes left, setting up Talbot's clincher on a long wrist shot from the neutral zone.
After neither team scored during a tightly played opening period, the action was fast and furious in the second.
Landeskog converted a centering feed from Paul Stastny on a 3-on-2 rush to put Colorado in front 9:08 into the session, and O'Reilly slid a shot between Backstrom's pads just over four minutes later to stake the Avs to a 2-0 lead.
Coyle pulled the Wild even with two quick scores later in the session, skating to the net to put home a Dany Heatley give on the first and one-timing Heatley's behind-the-net pass to forge a 2-2 tie with 5:01 remaining in the period.
"We battled back, we got in the game and I thought we came out well in the third [period] too," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "We weren't giving up much, but we've got to find a way to grab the lead there."
Varmalov improved to 8-0-5 in his last 14 games (13 starts), the longest streak without a regulation loss by a Colorado goaltender since a 16-game run by Peter Budaj in 2007 ... With defensemen Tyson Barrie (shoulder) and Nick Holden (wife giving birth) out for the game, the Avalanche recalled blueliner Karl Stollery from AHL Lake Erie to make his NHL debut ... Colorado's Andre Benoit recorded two assists ... The Avalanche are now 22-1-3 this season when scoring first.
01/12 00:01:06 ET