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Colorado
Avalanche
Minnesota
Wild
OT
22 SOG
30 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
COL
MIN
game recap

Avalanche 3, Wild 2, OT

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 12:09 AM

Associated Press

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -Joe Sakic added another line to his amazing playoff resume.

Sakic scored midway through the first overtime period, his eighth career playoff goal in extra time, to send the Colorado Avalanche past the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday night.

The goal came at 11:11 of OT and gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in this first-round series. Game 2 is at Minnesota on Friday.

Colorado welcomed Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote back in February to reunite that outstanding core with Sakic for another crack together at a title. The Avalanche got strong goaltending by Jose Theodore down the stretch and enters the playoffs poised, experienced and perhaps even the favorite in this matchup.

The division-champion Wild were dealt a devastating setback this week when shutdown defenseman Nick Schultz needed an appendectomy. He was to be a critical piece against Colorado's potent, slick-passing attack.

Kurt Sauer, who scored only once this season, got the first goal for Colorado. Ryan Smyth followed with a power-play deflection, and the Avalanche were up 2-0 in the second period with only seven shots on net at that point.

The Wild surged back after the second intermission. Mikko Koivu, with help from Avs defenseman Jeff Finger's skate, and Todd Fedoruk had goals to tie it - and offset the loss of net crasher Mark Parrish to what the team called a head injury in the second period.

The Avs had three chances to win it near the end of regulation. David Jones kicked in a loose puck, which was waved off. Then, Milan Hejduk's deflection of Finger's slap shot clanked off the post.

Finally, Smyth was awarded a penalty shot with 2:27 remaining following a scrum around the crease, but Niklas Backstrom smothered his right-then-left attempt.

Without Schultz, Minnesota's other defensemen were forced into more minutes, and without Parrish, coach Jacques Lemaire was essentially limited to three lines. The Wild, though, were consistently aggressive and controlled the flow for most of regulation.

The Avs made their early chances count.

The smooth-skating, savvy Sakic, who with Forsberg and Foote has won two Stanley Cups with Colorado, found a streaking Sauer in perfect position for a one-timer that went high over Backstrom's head for the early lead.

Soon after, Parrish was tangled up with Salei near the Wild bench and lost his balance before banging hard into the boards and bouncing back onto the ice. He needed a few minutes to sit up and required help to walk to the training room.

Later in the period, Smyth - with four seconds left on a power play - got behind Martin Skoula and tipped one in that grazed the post on the way past Backstrom to make it 2-0.

Theodore, who had a strong comeback season after losing his starting job last year to Peter Budaj, was unbreakable until the final period.

Koivu's shot from beyond the circle glanced off Finger's skate, with Brian Rolston parked in front of him, and ricocheted in.

Minutes later, it was all tied up.

With Fedoruk playing the muscle man role on a power play - the Wild were 2-for-27 in last year's first-round loss to Anaheim and 0-for-4 on the night until this - Nummelin made a short pass in front of the net. Fedoruk snagged it, pivoted and with some deft stick work sent the puck past a sprawling Theodore.

Notes: Backstrom's save of Smyth's penalty shot was noteworthy. He is 4-11 with a .386 save percentage in career shootouts. ... In 23 career games at Minnesota, Sakic has 20 points - more than any other visiting player. ... Wes Walz, a valuable center on the Wild's 2003 playoff team who retired abruptly less than two months into this season, lifted his arms to cajole the crowd into yelling louder before leading Minnesota's traditional "Let's Play Hockey" chant before the opening faceoff.

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
01:29
COL
Kurt Sauer (1) Snap shot - ASST: Joe Sakic (1), Wojtek Wolski (1)
1 - 0 COL
13:08
COL
PPG - Ryan Smyth (1) Tip-in - ASST: Jeff Finger (1), Andrew Brunette (1)
2 - 0 COL
3rd Period
03:02
MIN
Mikko Koivu (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Brian Rolston (1)
2 - 1 COL
06:13
MIN
PPG - Todd Fedoruk (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Petteri Nummelin (1), Mikko Koivu (1)
2 - 2 Tie
1st OT Period
11:11
COL
Joe Sakic (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Ruslan Salei (1), Wojtek Wolski (2)
3 - 2 COL
penalty summary
1st Period
11:32
COL
Andrew Brunette  Boarding against  Eric Belanger
15:37
COL
Paul Stastny  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
2nd Period
01:02
MIN
Brent Burns  Cross checking against  Peter Forsberg
01:02
COL
Peter Forsberg  Slashing against  Brent Burns
04:31
COL
Scott Hannan  Holding against  Brian Rolston
11:11
MIN
Pierre-Marc Bouchard  Slashing against  Joe Sakic
15:50
COL
Kurt Sauer  Holding against  Marian Gaborik
3rd Period
05:17
COL
Scott Hannan  Elbowing against  James Sheppard
1st OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
José Théodore
SA: 30TOI: 71:11
Saves: 28EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 12 - 13
SV%: .933SH: 0 - 0
Niklas Backstrom
Niklas Backstrom
SA: 22TOI: 71:04
Saves: 19EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 2
SV%: .864SH: 0 - 0
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