Avalanche Falls To Wild In OT
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Todd White scored 1:03 into overtime and Minnesota overcame two goals by Colorado's Brad Richardson for a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche on Thursday night in the Wild's season opener.
Branko Radivojevic and Marian Gaborik, part of an all-Slovak line with Pavol Demitra, each had goals for the Wild, who are 5-0-1 all-time in home openers.
Manny Fernandez made 29 saves for Minnesota, which spent plenty of money during the offseason to upgrade its roster.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard set up White with a drop pass that he deposited between Peter Budaj's legs to end it.
Gaborik signed a three-year, $19 million contract shortly after his team traded a top prospect and a first-round draft pick to the Kings for his friend, Demitra.
It's a combination that could be devastating for opponents, provided they stay healthy. During the pregame pomp, video of commissioner Gary Bettman's draft-day announcement of the Demitra deal was shown on the scoreboard -- prompting a roar from the sellout crowd announced at 18,568.
Radivojevic, the defensive-minded member of this line, was the first to score off a rebound of Gaborik's shot. Radivojevic, who played his first five NHL seasons with Phoenix and then Philadelphia, whiffed on his first attempt but connected on the second and sent it to the back of the net.
Just 26 seconds into the middle period, Gaborik fielded a cross-ice pass from Demitra that sped along the red line and tapped it in for a 2-0 lead.
The Avs, who scored on two of their nine power plays against the Stars, woke up in the second half of the second period.
Richardson snagged a loose puck that got tangled in the linesman's skate near the boards and skidded past Minnesota's Kim Johnsson, another of the multimillionaires added in this summer's spree. Richardson had a clean breakaway, scoring off a swift move he made on Fernandez's glove side to cut the lead in half.
Colorado missed on many more prime scoring opportunities, especially on the power play, but Fernandez was sharp -- helping stave off a 5-on-3 late in the second period -- until Richardson's sudden rush following the turnover.
This was the first home opener Gaborik played in since 2002, due to a contract dispute, the lockout and a groin injury over the previous three years. ... Leopold was the Hobey Baker Award winner at the University of Minnesota