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Avalanche/Wild Notebook

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Hejduk Nets A Pair

Milan Hejduk scored twice during Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center, his 16th and 17th goals of the season. Both of Hejduk’s tallies came while the Avs were trailing by two goals, at 2-0 and 3-1.

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The veteran winger first received a nice pass from Kevin Porter during a 2-on-1 rush and deposited the puck past the outstretched left pad of Minnesota goalie Jose Theodore at 11:47 of the middle frame. Hejduk’s second tally of the evening came 45 seconds into the third period. Captain Adam Foote made a nice play to hold the puck at Colorado’s offensive blue line and fired a shot wide of the net that bounced back into the crease area. From there, Chris Stewart sent a quick feed across the crease to an open Hejduk, who put a wrister into the net.

The pair of goals gave Hejduk 12 points (6g/6a) in his past 12 games.

The Avs were buzzing after Hejduk’s second goal and put heavy pressure on Theodore - especially as Martin Havlat spent four minutes in the penalty box for high sticking T.J. Galiardi in the chin and drawing blood – but Colorado couldn’t solve Minnesota’s netminder until Stewart scored with 10.7 seconds remaining in the contest.

Hunwick Moves Up Front
With forwards David Jones and Ryan O’Reilly out of the lineup due to shoulder injuries, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco decided to go with seven defensemen tonight against the Wild and made David Koci the club’s lone healthy scratch. However, Sacco mixed things up by playing blueliner Matt Hunwick exclusively at forward during the first period.

The Warren, Mich., native took a shift on defense two minutes into the middle frame, but then moved back to a wing position for his next shift. Hunwick went back and forth between the front end and the back line for the remainder of the contest.

Overall, Hunwick saw 11:23 of ice time and had three shots on goal and two hits.

Yip Drops ‘Em
Brandon Yip was involved in his second career NHL fight tonight, dropping the gloves with Minnesota defenseman Cam Barker 6:25 into the second period. Yip, who gave up two inches and 20 pounds to Barker in the bout, held his own during an evenly matched affair and even landed one big right.

Yip’s first career fight came earlier this season on Nov. 6, when he was involved in an altercation with Dallas’ Brian Sutherby in the closing seconds of a 5-0 Avalanche win.

The Yip/Barker fight was the only one of the evening, even though the contest between the Northwest Division rivals featured several gatherings in the corners and behind the nets after the whistle.

Game Notes
Defenseman Ryan Wilson celebrated his 24th birthday today…The Avalanche wore its blue third jerseys for the ninth time this season….Colorado is now (3-4-2) in its third sweaters… The Avs killed off all three of Minnesota’s power plays and has now thwarted 13-of-14 opposing power plays over the past three games…Andrew Brunette’s second goal of the contest came exactly two minutes after a Ryan O’Byrne penalty for elbowing, making it an even-strength tally.
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