DENVER — Kirill Kaprizov wasn't much of a factor for the Wild as the team began to organize a rally after falling behind to the Avalanche.
Then the third period happened.
After a ho-hum beginning, Kaprizov took over in the latter stages of a Monday matinee at Ball Arena, scoring not one but two tying goals to help the Wild pocket a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Avalanche.
"I didn't play well the first and second periods, so I was really excited to get those," Kaprizov said in Russian through a translator.
And he showed it.
Not usually one for enthusiastic goal celebrations, Kaprizov's emotion was on display in Colorado.
He pumped his fists and bounced on his skates after his shot rolled by Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz 6 minutes, 46 seconds into the third period to even the score at 2-2.
Then, after the NHL overturned a no-goal call that put Colorado ahead 3-2, Kaprizov again supplied the equalizer — this time wiring the puck behind Francouz with 2:51 left in regulation before jumping into the boards and getting surrounded by teammates.
"During moments like that, I think everyone kind of just focuses in a little more," Kaprizov said, "just tries to pay attention more to what's going on and I think you just focus more and play better in those situations."
Not only has Kaprizov tied linemate Ryan Hartman for the team lead in goals at 16, but he is on a torrid pace of late, picking up 12 points in his past six games. Overall, Kaprizov leads the Wild with 44.
"He's always stepping up, big game or not," winger Jordan Greenway said. "He's on a mission every time he goes out there. But obviously when it comes down to the end and there's a little more pressure, he steps up for sure. He's been doing really good for us."
Kaprizov's second goal was the 12th time this season the Wild has scored at 6-on-5, which ranks first in the NHL.
"Doesn't really matter how much time is left," winger Kevin Fiala said. "We have the confidence, and right now it's rolling and we just have to keep it up."
Fiala and rookie Matt Boldy have been linemates for only two games, but they play like they have been sharing the same ice for years.
Like he did Friday in the 7-3 blowout vs. the Ducks, Boldy again slipped a pass to Fiala that Fiala deposited in the back of the net for an early goal in the second period that counted as the 100th of Fiala's NHL career.
He is the fourth Swiss-born NHLer to reach the milestone, and Fiala has five goals during a season-long six-game point streak.
As for Boldy, he has four points in four games since joining the Wild from the minors and making his NHL debut.
"We have a lot of connections," Fiala said. "We know where we are even blind-looking. I hit him for a few times last game. I didn't even see him. I just thought he will be there, and it's just a great feeling."
Starting goalie Cam Talbot is working toward a return from a lower-body injury that's sidelined him since the Winter Classic, but backup Kaapo Kahkonen has kept the Wild competitive in Talbot's absence.
Not only is the Wild 3-0-1 since Kahkonen began starting in place of Talbot after Talbot was hurt, but Kahkonen is 7-1-2 over his past 11 games after a 35-save showing against the Avalanche.
"The first period or period and a half, he made some big stops that kept us in the game," Greenway said. "He had a tremendous effort [Monday]. He's been huge for us."