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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - No regrets, and no plans to change a thing.
Colorado's credo after winning Game 5?
Nope. It's the Minnesota Wild's insistence after losing it.
The Wild dominated in every way imaginable Thursday night and still lost 3-2 to the Avalanche and their nearly unbeatable goaltender, Jose Theodore, who's looking a lot like his former MVP self.
"The only thing stopping them was Theo," Avs forward Ian Laperriere said. "They took it to us and they deserve a better result, I guess."
Never has Theodore played better for the Avs than in the second period, when he made a series of astonishing saves to rescue his struggling teammates and fluster the bewildered Wild.
"That second period, we should have been down five or six goals," suggested Avs center Paul Stastny.
Instead, it was 1-1 after two periods and Wojtek Wolski and Stastny scored in the third as the Avs pulled away to take a 3-2 series lead.
"Great's not even the word to describe it," Colorado head coach Joel Quenneville said of Theodore's play. "Being tied going into the third was almost like winning going into the third."
For the Wild, it was almost as if they were trailing. But they've been holding their heads high ever since.
"If we're going to keep playing like that over there we have a great chance to win," suggested Minnesota's still-scoreless Marian Gaborik. "We just have to be positive and try to repeat the same game and the outcome will be different."
Not if Theodore, who saved 38-of-39 shots before a meaningless goal in the waning seconds, has anything to say about it.
"Besides score, nothing," Wild defenseman Sean Hill responded when asked what more Minnesota could have done. "We're confident in our game and we're happy with the way our game was (Thursday). The only thing that we want different is the result. We feel like if we throw that game at them again we'll get a different result."
That's why the Avs are talking about playing more aggressively, forechecking harder, managing the puck better and winning more faceoffs, so that Theodore doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting for a change.
They were also still talking on Friday about Theodore's amazing game, and some of those who played with Patrick Roy put this one right up there with the Hall of Famer.
"I've never seen a performance like that," center Ben Guite said. "(Watching television) growing up, I've seen goalies steal games, especially in this organization, you saw Roy do the same thing before. But at any kind of level, I've never seen a goalie play that well."
Although they'd take it, the Avalanche doesn't want Theodore to have to bail the club out again.
"We've got to come back and do something for him because he's done so much for us," Stastny said.
The Wild? They just want to a repeat of their effort and execution, which, they are confident, would force a Game 7 Monday night.
"We're very pleased with the way we played," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We can't play much better. You look at the intensity right from the first face-off to the end, you know that was just the best effort we can ask. Just gotta keep playing like this. There's nothing else you can do."
Well, Lemaire certainly would welcome Gaborik finally finding the net. After getting 42 goals and 41 assists in a career-best regular season, he's still looking for his first point of the postseason.
"That would help, but I'm looking more as the whole team," Lemaire said. "I feel if everyone works hard we should get the goals. I'm not saying I don't need his goals. I just don't want to put too much pressure on him because I could see that he had a couple chances. He's starting to squeeze the stick."
"It's tough out there," Gaborik said, "when the confidence is not there and the bounces are not going your way."
The Avalanche is relieved that its own leading scorer in the regular season - Stastny, with 71 points - finally found the net Thursday, even though he's been productive in so many other ways in the playoffs.
"I think it helps, because guys that are producers sometimes measure their play and their effectiveness by points," Quenneville said. "And he'll be more comfortable as his scoring goes forward."
AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.
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|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|