DENVER (AP) -Pavol Demitra had a goal and an assist and Niklas Backstrom stopped 28 shots, lifting the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Demitra's 10th goal of the season gave the Wild a lead heading into the third period and they made it stand up - as usual. Minnesota is 20-0 this season when taking a lead into final period.
Backstrom bears down when he has a lead as well. He improved to 25-0 in his career with his team up after two periods.
Jose Theodore went to the bench with 1:31 remaining in favor of an extra skater, but the Avalanche couldn't tie the score.
Todd Fedoruk and Brian Rolston also scored for the Wild as the team won in a building that hasn't been friendly to them. Minnesota is 5-15-0 with two ties in 22 games at Pepsi Center.
|Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu, front left, slides into Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore, front right, after Theodore had stopped Koivu's shot in the first period in Denver on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)|
Andrew Brunette and Wojtek Wolski scored for Colorado.
Theodore made his 10th straight start, stopping 34 shots. It's his longest stretch of consecutive starts since joining Colorado in March 2006.
The Avalanche thought it had tied the game midway through the third, but officials waved off Jaroslav Hlinka's apparent goal because it was played off a high stick.
Demitra gave Minnesota the lead for good on a nifty play midway through the second period. After Kurtis Foster's shot from the blue line bounced out of Theodore's glove, Demitra kicked the puck to himself on the other side of the net and knocked it in.
Wolski tied the game at 2 early in the second when he went high with the puck off a feed from Marek Svatos. It was Wolski's 14th goal of the season.
The Avalanche scored with 28 seconds remaining in the first period when Backstrom tried to corral a shot that had slipped behind him with his stick and bumped the puck into the net.
The goal was credited to Brunette, his 10th of the season. Milan Hejduk and Hlinka were awarded assists on the play.
Rolston went nine games without a goal, but has rediscovered his touch. He's scored in three straight games, including a power-play goal in the first period against Colorado, his 17th this season.
Marian Gaborik fed Rolston with a perfect pass and Rolston drilled it past Theodore on a slapshot.
Fedoruk beat Theodore on his glove side early in the first period. It was Fedoruk's second goal of the season.
Notes: Colorado's T.J. Hensick was recently named to the American Hockey League All-Star Classic on Monday in Binghamton, N.Y. The forward was recalled by the Avalanche on Jan. 17. ... Wild RW Mark Parrish (bruised foot) and LW Derek Boogaard (back) both missed a second straight game. ... Gaborik now has 27 assists this season.