Colorado Avalanche Logo and Header

Game Preview

Avalanche-Wild Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends

Avalanche-Wild Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

There's no one else the Colorado Avalanche would rather have on their roster during the playoffs than Joe Sakic.

Colorado's captain will look to build on yet another game-winning postseason performance Friday when the Avalanche continues its first-round series with the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

Sakic scored 11:11 into overtime in Colorado's 3-2 win in Game 1 on Wednesday. The OT goal was the eighth of his career in the playoffs, an NHL record.

The Avalanche's 38-year-old center, who added an assist, also ranks first among active players with 83 goals and 180 points in the postseason.

"Joe's a scorer. He's a great player. He knows his way around the rink as good as anybody," Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville said. "Sometimes you get the fortunate bounce, but you know where to go to get those fortunate bounces."

Sakic posted career lows of 13 goals and 27 assists during the regular season, but missed 38 games because of hernia surgery.

Sakic has 10 goals and nine assists in 22 regular-season road games against the Wild, and recorded four goals and two assists in three road contests during Colorado's seven-game loss to Minnesota in the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals. The Avs blew a 3-1 series lead, but Sakic had six goals and three assists in the seven games.

"This guy has got nothing but dedication and heart towards winning," said teammate Ryan Smyth, who also scored Wednesday. "He knows what it takes. ... For how young he is, he's still got it."

Sakic won Stanley Cups with Colorado in 1996 and 2001, along with Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote. The three were reunited this season when Forsberg signed with the Avalanche on Feb. 25 and Foote was acquired in trade with Columbus a day later.

Neither Forsberg, third among active players with 63 postseason goals and second with 172 points, nor Foote recorded a point in Game 1. However, the Avalanche didn't need much offense thanks to Jose Theodore, who made 28 saves and kept Minnesota scoreless in the first period despite the Wild outshooting Colorado 11-2.

Theodore improved to 6-0-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average over his last seven starts.

"Really, the only reason we were there was Theodore's play. I thought Jose kept us in it, especially in that first period. He was unbelievable keeping it 0-0. He deserves real credit for keeping us in the game," Sakic said.

Minnesota's Mikko Koivu and Todd Fedoruk got pucks past Theodore in the third, but the Wild lost after finishing the regular season 4-0-1 in its last five games.

"They nearly get a goal every time you make a mistake," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said, adding: "You really have to be focused on every detail."

Minnesota failed to score at least three goals for the first time in eight games and lost for the first time in five home games against Colorado this season.

"The intensity was at its best. Players were at their best," Lemaire said. "That's the playoffs - you get a break here and there and you turn out to be in great shape."

The Wild lost some of their depth up front when Mark Parrish was forced to leave in the second period with a head injury. They are already without defenseman Nick Schultz, who underwent an appendectomy earlier in the week.

"We know we can play these guys," Koivu said. "We know it's going to be tight all the way. That's how it's going to be. It's going to be a fight. Every game, every shift. We just couldn't finish the way we wanted."

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 09 '08 COL 3 at MIN 2 - OT J. Sakic
Apr 11 '08 COL 2 at MIN 3 - OT K. Carney
Apr 14 '08 MIN 3 at COL 2 - OT P. Bouchard
Apr 15 '08 MIN 1 at COL 5 W. Wolski
Apr 17 '08 COL 3 at MIN 2 P. Stastny
Apr 19 '08 MIN 1 at COL 2 R. Smyth is the official Web site of the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado Avalanche and are trademarks of Colorado Avalanche, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Colorado Avalanche Hockey Team, Inc. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.