Wild leapfrog Avalanche back into final playoff position with win over Kings

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The race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference has turned into a back-and-forth battle between two Central Division teams — the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche.

With a 2-1 victory over the L.A. Kings on Tuesday, the Wild move back into the final, um, Wild Card spot in the conference by a single point over Colorado. Less than a week ago, coach John Torchetti expressed his disappointment following a bad 7-4 loss to the low-scoring Devils, which was Minnesota’s fourth defeat in five games.

Since then, the Wild have won three straight. They’ve needed the shootout to do so on two of those occasions, with all three wins coming in one-goal games.

Devan Dubnyk is a big reason — the only reason, you could argue — why the Wild were victorious Tuesday. Minnesota jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Erik Haula and Mikko Koivu and then relied on Dubnyk to hold on, as he made 38 saves. The Kings dominated puck possession and outshot the Wild 39-18.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, but it’s not really a different effort. It was a great effort last night, too. It’s difficult when you look up at the clock and it’s eight shots and you’re down two-cob,” said Kings coach Darryl Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

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The Kings, who had previously won four straight prior to this Central Division trip, have now lost on back-to-back nights.