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Avs Beat Wild 4-3

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER (AP) - Rookie Marek Svatos scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Peter Budaj made some big saves in the final two periods, helping the Colorado Avalanche hold off the Minnesota Wild 4-3 Thursday night.

Antti Laaksonen, Andrew Brunette and Brett McLean also scored for Colorado, which won for the second time in six games despite failing to score on its power play (0-for-7) for the first time in nine games.

Minnesota had plenty of good scoring chances after a sluggish start - one shot in the game's first 11 minutes - but couldn't get anything past Budaj after getting its third goal midway through the second period.

Alexandre Daigle and Andrei Zyuzin had a goal and an assist each, and Mikko Koivu also scored for Minnesota, 1-9-2-0 all-time in Denver during the regular season.

Colorado led by one after the teams combined for five goals in the final seven minutes of the first period, then the Wild tied it on Koivu's redirect of a shot by Zyuzin midway through the second. Svatos put the Avalanche ahead for good 36 seconds into the third period, scoring his team-leading 18th on a one-timer from Joe Sakic behind the net.

Budaj, making his first start since Dec. 4, made some spectacular saves in the second period, including a sprawling stop on Brent Burns' breakaway and another while sitting on the ice. Budaj stopped 27 shots for his first win since Nov. 18.

It looked to be a defensive struggle in the early going, neither team getting good scoring chances. Then goals started flying in from all angles - even under the net.

The flurry started with just over seven minutes left in the first period, when Laaksonen chased down his own shot from the left circle and flicked in the puck after it squeezed through Dwayne Roloson's pads. Brunette made it 2-0 less than two minutes later, redirecting a shot from Rob Blake.

Daigle got Minnesota's first goal on a redirect of Burns' shot with just under four minutes left, then McLean scored 68 seconds later on a goal that shouldn't have counted.

Shooting from a sharp angle, McLean appeared to squeeze a shot past Roloson, who had his body and skate pressed against the near post. Roloson was surprised when he looked back and saw the puck in the net and he should have been - replays showed it trickled under the side when the goal was briefly jarred off its moorings, though the goal wasn't overturned by the replay official.

Zyuzin didn't leave any doubt on his goal with 20 seconds left, one-timing Daigle's pass from the corner on a power play to cut Colorado's lead to 3-2.

Notes: Colorado's Bob Boughner played in his 599th game and Milan Hejduk played in No. 499. ... The teams play again Friday night in Minnesota. ... The Wild have killed off 23 straight penalties.

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