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Avalanche Tops Wild In Shootout

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Peter Budaj made 28 saves in regulation and overtime and Joe Sakic's shootout goal lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Sakic also scored the Avs' only goal in regulation, and his nifty top-shelf backhander beat Niklas Backstrom to give Colorado a 2-1 edge in the shootout.

Budaj, who stopped two of three shots in the shootout, then stuffed Brian Rolston on Minnesota's last chance, handing the Wild their first shootout loss of the season.

Backstrom made 30 saves in a surprise start, but also gave up a goal to Wojtek Wolski in the shootout.

Budaj appeared to be on his way to his second shutout in as many nights with just under six minutes to play in regulation.

But Mikko Koivu finally solved him after a questionable interference call on Colorado's Ken Klee. Rolston ripped a slap shot from the point that Koivu deftly deflected, and Budaj didn't have a chance.

The goal tied the score 1-1, and the Wild thought they had the Avs right where they wanted them. Minnesota entered the night 7-0 in overtime games this season, including 4-0 in shootouts.

But Budaj was too tough in his second start in a row. He hadn't made a start for Colorado since Nov. 2 before getting the nod over Jose Theodore on Friday night. Budaj made 25 saves in a 3-0 victory to stop a four-game slide.

He stopped a point-blank wrist shot from Pavol Demitra 6:30 into the second period, then stuffed a breakaway by Pierre-Marc Bouchard three minutes later. Budaj capped the period by stopping Brent Burns' slap shot to preserve a 1-0 lead.

Playing at home for the first time in two weeks, the Wild came out flat in the first period. They struggled to sustain offense in the Colorado zone and did not register a single shot on goal during two power plays.

Koivu scored Minnesota's lone goal in the shootout.

Backstrom played well in his second start of the season. Coach Jacques Lemaire said Friday that he was sticking with Manny Fernandez in net despite his recent struggles. Fernandez has allowed nine goals in his previous two starts, including five in less than two periods of Thursday night's victory over Nashville.

But Fernandez is 1-4 with a 4.04 goals-against average in his last seven starts and Backstrom has played very well in the last two games.

He came on in relief against the Predators to help the Wild comeback, and made several impressive glove saves on Saturday night.

Notes: Former University of Minnesota star Jordan Leopold, a defenseman for the Avalanche, is still recovering from a hernia and did not dress. ... Wild enforcer Derek Boogard missed his second straight game with a leg injury.

Click below for the shootout results...

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