Avs control play in opening win over Wild

Mikko Rantanen and Carl Soderberg had a goal and an assist each, Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher also scored, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Thursday night at Denver in the season opener for both teams.

Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves for Colorado.

Zach Parise had a goal and Devyn Dubnyk stopped 36 shots for Minnesota.

The Wild were fortunate to be down only 2-1 after two periods. Minnesota managed just five shots in the first 20 minutes and eight in the second frame while the Avalanche kept throwing pucks at Dubnyk. Colorado had a 32-13 edge in shots entering the third, putting 18 shots on net in the second period alone.

MacKinnon got what turned out to be the game-winner on a second-period rush. Rantanen skated down the left boards and fed MacKinnon as the right winger got in front of the net, and MacKinnon’s redirect went off Dubnyk and in at 10:26.

Colorado thought it got another goal early in the third, but it was disallowed after a review showed Colin Wilson knocked it in with his glove.

Minnesota pressed for the equalizer after that. Varlamov had to make a big save on Eric Staal’s chance on an odd-man rush with 4:48 left to preserve the lead.

Dubnyk went off for an extra skater, and Rantanen iced it with an empty-net goal with 1:53 to play. Compher added another with 20 seconds left.

The Avalanche dominated chances in the first period but found themselves trailing just 6:14 into the game. Parise, who missed a chunk of last season after undergoing back surgery, got Minnesota’s first goal of 2018-19.

He got the tally when Mikko Koivu got the puck below the goal line and sent a no-look pass to Parise, who was working his way in front of the net. Parise tapped the puck past Varlamov.

The lead didn’t last long. Just 1:13 later, Soderberg took a pass from Matt Nieto in the neutral zone, skated into the Minnesota zone and used defenseman Nick Seeler as a screen to beat Dubnyk with a shot over his left shoulder to tie it.