|COL||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
|MIN||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -Marian Gaborik scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and the Minnesota Wild celebrated clinching a playoff spot by beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Sunday.
Detroit beat Nashville minutes before Minnesota took the ice Sunday, which sent the Wild to its second straight playoff berth.
Pavol Demitra set up Gaborik on a two-on-one breakaway 3:10 into overtime. The winner was Gaborik's career-high 40th goal of the season and his franchise-record 80th point.
Jeff Finger and Ruslan Salei scored for Colorado, which rebounded from a slow start to earn a point.
The Avalanche, playing without Peter Forsberg who was scratched with a groin injury, had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Minnesota came out strong, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by Brian Rolston and Gaborik before the game was 10 minutes old.
Rolston put back a rebound off Kim Johnsson's slap shot 4:56 in, giving him 30 goals for the third straight season. Gaborik's first goal came on the power play from the top of the slot at 8:19.
Colorado also remains in the thick of the playoff chase and responded by dominating the second period. Finger scored 1:21 into the period and Salei tied it with 8:01 left as the Avalanche held Minnesota to just three shots in the period.
Minnesota missed a few chances to regain the lead. Mikko Koivu saw his wrist shot trickle through the crease late in the second, and Rolston and Nick Schultz also beat Jose Theodore, only to see their slap shots hit the posts.
Minnesota has won three straight and is 6-2-1 in its past nine games. The Wild are peaking at the right time as it tries to secure the third seed in the playoffs by winning the Northwest Division.
Both teams have two games remaining, including a season-ending matchup next Sunday in Colorado.
One thing in the Wild's favor is the recent play of goalie Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom is 9-1-4 since taking over the starting job full time on Feb. 27 and seems to play his best when the weather warms up, posting a 17-2-6 mark after March 1 in his career.
Notes: Finger added an assist on Salei's goal, giving the defenseman his first multi-point game this season. ... Minnesota Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer and backup catcher Mike Redmond were at the game. ...The Wild have earned at least one point in nine straight home games against Colorado.
|Brian Rolston (30) ASST: Kim Johnsson (22), Mikko Koivu (30)|
1 - 0 MIN
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (39) ASST: Brent Burns (28), Brian Rolston (28)|
2 - 0 MIN
|Jeff Finger (8) ASST: Joe Sakic (24), Wojtek Wolski (29)|
2 - 1 MIN
|Ruslan Salei (6) ASST: Jeff Finger (11), Wojtek Wolski (30)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Marian Gaborik (40) ASST: Pavol Demitra (35)|
3 - 2 MIN
|Ruslan Salei Hooking against Mikko Koivu|
|Ryan Smyth Slashing against Keith Carney|
|Kurt Sauer Hooking against Marian Gaborik|
|Jaroslav Hlinka Abuse of officials|
|Brian Rolston Hooking against Wojtek Wolski|
|Martin Skoula Tripping against Ryan Smyth|
|Eric Belanger Hooking against Tyler Arnason|
|SA: 20||TOI: 62:30|
|Saves: 17||EV: 14 - 16|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .850||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 26||TOI: 63:01|
|Saves: 24||EV: 23 - 25|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .923||SH: 0 - 0|