MINNEAPOLIS — Mikko Rantanen scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, while Nathan Mackinnon had a goal and two assists for Colorado.
Ben Meyers and Samuel Girard scored in the first period to put Wild goalkeeper Filip Gustavsson in an early hole. Josh Manson and Valeri Nichushkin added third-period goals for the Avs.
Kirill Kaprizov’s second goal pulled the Wild within one, but Alexandar Georgiev made 36 stops for Colorado. Mackinnon scored on the power play after Freddy Gaudreau missed an open net short-handed.
The Wild are 0-3-0 despite Joel Eriksson Ek’s power-play goal and Calen Addison’s three assists. Gustavsson made 32 saves.
After conceding 14 goals in their first two games, the Wild needed every player to improve defensively. Even without captain Gabriel Landeskog, facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche was a tough test.
Minnesota’s season opened with a 7-3 loss against the Rangers. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled from Saturday’s 7-6 loss to Los Angeles after allowing 11 goals on 49 shots through four periods. Gustavsson was hit by 20 shots from the Kings.
Erik Johnson’s shot off Kurtis MacDermid’s stick hit Meyers with his back to the net in the circle only 3:30 into the game.
Johnson showed a shocked smile to his teammates as Meyers was credited with his second career goal in his home state.
Gustavsson, acquired in a trade with Ottawa when Wild GM Bill Guerin elected not to share Fleury with Cam Talbot, stopped the next two goals.
Girard muscled a backhander through traffic after outmuscling Tyson Jost for the ball. The bleeder trickled into the net following a slick and spirited Wild move and quieted the crowd.
Gustavsson, 24, had difficulties controlling pucks, including a dump-in by Mackinnon that Rantanen tapped in for a 3-2 lead in the second period.
Mason Shaw, who replaced Marco Rossi in the fourth line, provided lots of enthusiasm. Ryan Hartman shifted to the right wing on Eriksson Ek’s line to make room for Jost. Jordan Greenway, who had off-season upper-body surgery, usually plays there.