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DENVER – The Wild's final four games won't salvage their season.

They were officially eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday when they were overwhelmed 5-2 by the Avalanche at Ball Arena, but Kirill Kaprizov is making the rest of the way worth watching.

Kaprizov scored for the fifth time in his past three games to move five goals shy of matching the career-high 47 he tallied in 2021-22.

He's also two assists away from being the first player in Wild history to post 50 in multiple seasons.

Only once in his last 17 games has Kaprizov not recorded a point.

Basically, the Wild aren't advancing in spite of Kaprizov, not because of him.

"He's played great for us," defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "Obviously, that's the competitive edge that we're looking for."

Since Jan. 19, almost a week after the Wild winger returned from injury, no one in the NHL has picked up more goals than Kaprizov.

He and Toronto's Auston Matthews are tied with 29, a second-half surge in which Kaprizov has carried the Wild offense.

Of the 108 goals the team racked up over the past 34 games, Kaprizov has been involved in half of them.

Another 15 goals happened when he was on the ice but didn't secure a point.

BOXSCORE: Colorado 5, Wild 2

NHL standings

After Colorado capitalized twice early, on an Artturi Lehkonen power play marker 4 minutes, 34 seconds into the first period and Nathan MacKinnon breakaway at 8:38, it was Kaprizov who responded for the Wild after back-to-back two-goal games over the weekend.

He jammed the puck by Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (20 saves) on the power play at 10:14 to extend his point streak to eight games, which tied his season high.

His 17 power play goals equaled his own franchise record and with 56 in his career, he has the fourth-most in Wild history behind Marian Gaborik (59), Mikko Koivu (60) and Zach Parise (69).

"He can drive a team," Bogosian said. "There's certain players that can drive teams. Obviously, MacKinnon does that for them, and Kirill does that for us. He's been playing awesome."

The Wild power play (2-for-5) also delivered the equalizer, a bank pass by Mats Zuccarello off Matt Boldy with 20 seconds left in the first period; Colorado's power play finished 1-for-4.

But the Avalanche regained a lead they wouldn't relinquish 6:15 into the second period when a slick wrister by Cale Makar eluded Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson, who made 27 stops.

MacKinnon then wired in his 50th goal at 14:50 before burying a hat trick off another breakaway with 52 seconds left in the period.

"It's tough," defenseman Jonas Brodin said. "It's a good team, but I think we gave them a couple chances."

MacKinnon was serenaded with "MVP" chants after his second and third goals.

"Obviously, we were right in the game there," Wild coach John Hynes said, "and MacKinnon makes some game-breaking plays that that's what makes him such a dangerous player."

As for the Wild's most valuable player, Kaprizov has rarely missed the playoffs.

"When I play in Novokuznetsk," he said recently, "my first two years in KHL."

This time a year ago, Kaprizov was returning from injury.

Now, he's dominating on the brink of a playoffs that will exclude the Wild, the team's latest what-if in a season filled with them.

"Take some learnings," Kaprizov said, "and keep going next season."