|COL||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|MIN||0||0||0||0||(null - null)||2|
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.
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.
|Kurt Sauer (1) ASST: Joe Sakic (1), Wojtek Wolski (1)|
1 - 0 COL
|PPG - Ryan Smyth (1) ASST: Jeff Finger (1), Andrew Brunette (1)|
2 - 0 COL
|Mikko Koivu (1) ASST: Brian Rolston (1)|
2 - 1 COL
|PPG - Todd Fedoruk (1) ASST: Petteri Nummelin (1), Mikko Koivu (1)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1st OT Period|
|Joe Sakic (1) ASST: Ruslan Salei (1), Wojtek Wolski (2)|
3 - 2 COL
|Andrew Brunette Boarding against Eric Belanger|
|Paul Stastny Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Brent Burns Cross checking against Peter Forsberg|
|Peter Forsberg Slashing against Brent Burns|
|Scott Hannan Holding against Brian Rolston|
|Pierre-Marc Bouchard Slashing against Joe Sakic|
|Kurt Sauer Holding against Marian Gaborik|
|Scott Hannan Elbowing against James Sheppard|
|1st OT Period|
|SA: 30||TOI: 71:11|
|Saves: 28||EV: 16 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 12 - 13|
|SV%: .933||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 22||TOI: 71:04|
|Saves: 19||EV: 18 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 2|
|SV%: .864||SH: 0 - 0|