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    ST. PAUL Adidas James Van Riemsdyk Jersey , Minn. (AP) Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche will be sorry not to see the Minnesota Wild on the schedule anymore during the regular season.MacKinnon scored his 33rd goal of the season, J.T. Compher had his first career two-goal game and Colorado dominated Minnesota on the scoreboard again during a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves for the Avalanche. Nikita Zadorov and Tyson Jost also scored for Colorado, which has won the past three meetings this season by a combined tally of 19-4.”I don’t think there’s any love lost, but I guess we got hot on offense three games in a row,” MacKinnon said about the rivalry. ”At the end of the day, we just took two points. We’re not really worried about the dramatics of it. Obviously, it’s nice to come in here and win. We don’t do that very often.”The Avalanche have points in 10 of their past 11 games (6-1-4) and are three points behind the Wild for third place in the Central Division. They pulled into a tie with Dallas (82 points) for the first wild card in the Western Conference.”We know every night we’re talking about how big this game is, we’re going to go into the next game talking about how big that one is, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger here at the end of the season,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. ”So to be able to carve out points, especially on the road, it’s real important. Our guys are coming together as a group and we like what we’re seeing, so hopefully we can keep this thing going.”Mikko Koivu scored his 13th goal of the season for Minnesota, which has lost just three times at home in regulation since Nov. 14.Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves for the Wild in an intense game that featured several scrums after the whistle and both teams getting hit with matching roughing penalties – twice.”There’s a rivalry there for sure and they like to talk a lot from the bench, so it obviously gets guys going Adidas Christian Folin Jersey ,” Dubnyk said. ”But that’s fine. If we need to take a couple runs at them, that’s fine.”MacKinnon was held scoreless in the first meeting between the teams when Minnesota won at home on Nov. 24 in a shootout. But the Avalanche also control their home ice and earned a pair of wins in Colorado by scoring seven goals in each game, the most recent a 7-1 victory on March 2.MacKinnon had three goals and five assists in the previous two meetings and gave the Avalanche a two-goal advantage on Tuesday by scoring just 11 seconds into the third period. MacKinnon picked up a loose puck and beat Koivu down the ice for an open shot and slid the puck under Dubnyk.Compher opened the scoring in the first with his first goal in 17 games and had one of three Colorado goals in the third, two that came on the power play.The Wild had 10 of the first 11 shots and outshot the Avalanche 34-22 in the game but couldn’t solve Varlamov.”We can be happy we don’t play them again,” Minnesota forward Jason Zucker said. ”But realistically, if it comes playoff time, we have to figure something out. We can’t just have a mental block against one team.”NOTES: Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon left early in the third period after crashing hard into the boards. Spurgeon’s legs were spread apart and split further after hitting the boards. He was helped off the ice and didn’t return. After the game, coach Bruce Boudreau would only say it wasn’t a knee or ankle injury. … Wild rookie D Nick Seeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with a right biceps strain. Gustav Olofsson was scratched. … Spencer Martin was recalled from the American Hockey League and dressed as Colorado’s backup goaltender, with Jonathan Bernier (head) scratched.UP NEXTAvalanche: At the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.Wild: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.— PITTSBURGH (AP) The Washington Capitals don’t need a history lesson. Neither do the Winnipeg Jets for that matter.The Capitals are well aware of their penchant for letting opportunity after opportunity slip away, frequently at the hands of Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.And just in case Alex Ovechkin and his teammates ever forget about their playoff missteps, they need only step in front of a camera or a microphone, where the same questions are posed year after year.There’s only one way to hop off the hamster wheel: close out the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins this week – preferably at the end of Game 6 Monday night (7 p.m., NBCSN) in Pittsburgh – to earn the franchise’s first trip to the Eastern Conference finals in 20 years.”I don’t know if I could tell you exactly what it would mean,” Washington forward T.J. Oshie said.”None of us have ever been there. We’re just looking to get the job done and maybe after we can talk about the feelings. But right now we still got a lot of work to do.”Work that in the past has proven to be too much. Four previous times during the Ovechkin Era – including in 2009 and 2017 against Pittsburgh – the Capitals have won three games in the second round of the playoffs. It’s that fourth one that’s proven elusive.No pressure or anything. All Washington has to do to produce a cathartic breakthrough is hand the Penguins their first series loss in 37 months.Pittsburgh has never lost an elimination game under head coach Mike Sullivan, capturing a pair of Game 7s – including a 2-0 shutout in Washington in the second round – during its run to a second straight Cup last spring and rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals two years ago.”They know what it takes to win Adidas Erik Karlsson Jersey ,” Sullivan said. ”They’re not afraid of challenges and they embrace these types of situations.”To become the first team in 35 years to earn three consecutive titles, the Penguins don’t really have a choice.They were the better team for long stretches in Game 5 only to have the Capitals surge past them in the third period for a 6-3 win – the second time in three games Pittsburgh lost in regulation when leading after two, something it didn’t do at all in the regular season.No matter. Recovering quickly and moving forward has kind of been their thing under Sullivan. The Penguins are 17-5 following a playoff loss with Sullivan on the bench.Pushing that number to 18-5 would send the series back to Washington and force the Capitals try to explain – again – how this time will be different.”We knew it was going to be a tight series,” Crosby said. ”We need to make sure we leave it all out there, give ourselves a chance to get back (to Washington).”At least the Capitals put themselves in position for playoff heartbreak. That’s hardly the case with the Jets, who until a month ago had won exactly zero postseason games in their 18 years of existence and now find themselves one victory away from the Western Conference finals.Winnipeg has never been this far. Ever. The Jets put themselves in position when they stunned Nashville by scoring four goals in the second period against Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne during a 6-2 romp in ”Smashville” in Game 5, sending them home for Game 6 (9:30 p.m., NBCSN) with a chance to wrap up the series.Not that the Jets want to talk about it.”That’s noise. It’s kind of a distraction,” Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said.”What we’re focused on is what’s given us success all year long, and that’s just finding a way to win one hockey game. If we’re able to do that, then when it’s all said and done you’re reflecting on the season and you’ll think about what you were able to accomplish and the magnitude of the situation. But we can’t make it bigger than a game.”The Predators, unlike the Jets, have been here before. They faced elimination in the first round against Anaheim in 2016 but came back to advance, triumphing in the crucible of Game 7 for the first time in franchise history in the process.”It’s pretty simple, we win we keep playing Adidas Adam Cracknell Jersey ,” Nashville forward Filip Forsberg said. ”If we don’t, we don’t play anymore. Obviously that desperation level is going to be a determining factor for sure.”It’s a feeling long familiar in Washington. The Capitals received a dose of good news on Sunday when coach Barry Trotz said center Nicklas Backstrom will travel with the team after leaving in the third period of Game 5 with an upper-body injury.Whoever is on the ice will be forced to shoulder the weight of playoff failures, one Trotz is confident his team is finally ready to shrug off for good.”I can tell you there’s not a player, a coach, a trainer, ownership, (general manager) who is not trying to do everything they can to win this series,” Trotz said. ”Trust me. We’re trying as hard as we can and at the end of the day that’s all we can promise.”—AP Sports Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, and AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.—

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