St.  Paul, MN  ( - The Wild came home from Colorado down two
games in their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Avalanche.

Following  consecutive  stellar starts  from goaltender Darcy Kuemper, they're
leaving Minnesota with the series even at 2-2.

Charlie  Coyle and  Jared Spurgeon each scored once while Kuemper turned aside
11-of-12  shots to send the Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche in Game 4
on Thursday from Xcel Energy Center.

The 23-year-old Kuemper registered a 22-save shutout in his first-ever playoff
start in Game 3 and followed that effort up by stopping the only five shots he
faced in the third on Thursday to maintain Minnesota's one-goal lead.

"I've kind of learned the importance of showing confidence in yourself because
I  think  the players feed  off that a little  bit," Kuemper said. "It relaxes
them  in the defensive  zone, but it's easy to do when they're playing the way
they are in front of me."

Kuemper  got his second straight start in place of Ilya Bryzgalov, who allowed
five  goals on 31 shots in Game 1 and gave up three more on 14 shots in Game 2
before being replaced by Kuemper in the second period.

Ryan  O'Reilly  registered the lone goal  for Colorado, which will return home
to host Game 5 on Saturday.

"We  know  that we're  strong at  home," Colorado's  Gabriel Landeskog said of
heading  home for Game  5 with the series tied at 2-2. "We're just going to go
home and regroup and get back to work on Saturday."

Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 shots in the setback.

Spurgeon  provided the home  crowd with a spark just under four minutes in, as
he  pinched  in from the point  and rifled a one-timer past Varlamov's blocker
from the slot at 3:47.

A  hooking  penalty against Landeskog  helped Minnesota double the margin with
just over seven minutes left in the second.

With  the  Wild on the  power play, Jason Pominville  fired a wrister from the
right  faceoff dot that  missed the net high. However, the disc took a strange
carom  off the  end boards  and ended  up on  the low  left side,  where Coyle
swatted it home with a backhand to make it 2-0 at 12:55.

The  Avalanche  answered 30 seconds  later, as  O'Reilly rifled a wrister from
atop  the right  circle  that  slipped through  Kuemper's  five-hole to  bring
Colorado within 2-1 at 13:25.

Kuemper  kept  the Avs off  the board from there,  but a hooking minor against
Minnesota's  Jonas Brodin  at 17:46 allowed Colorado head coach Patrick Roy to
pull Varlamov for a 6-on-4 advantage.

The  Minnesota  netminder was up  to the task  however, turning aside the late
Colorado flurry to keep the Wild in front.

                                   Game Notes

Kuemper  has allowed just one goal in 150:18 this postseason ... Colorado went
0-for-4  on  the power play for  the second straight game ... Colorado forward
Joey  Hishon made his NHL debut and logged just over 6 1/2 minutes of ice time
...  Minnesota's  Matt  Cooke  served  the first  contest  of  his  seven-game
suspension  for kneeing Colorado's Tyson Barrie in Game 3. Barrie is out four-
to-six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.