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Avs Fall to Wild 5-3

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Marian Gaborik's short-handed goal in the third period helped the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Sunday.

With the Wild killing a four-minute power play, Gaborik took a pass from Wes Walz on a 2-on-1 break and snapped a 3-3 tie to give Minnesota its first post-Olympics victory.

Walz scored twice and Wild coach Jacques Lemaire earned his 400th NHL win.

Alex Tanguay had three assists for the Avalanche, who lost for the second time in two nights. Colorado was beaten 5-3 at Dallas on Saturday, starting a stretch in which the Avalanche will play nine of 10 on the road.

Colorado used a 5-on-3 power play to open the scoring, when Andrew Brunette lifted a backhand shot over goaltender Manny Fernandez and into the upper left corner of the net.

Walz converted on a 2-on-1 break a short time later. He fumbled a shot at the rebound of a blast by Gaborik, barely getting his stick on the puck, but his momentum carried the puck under David Aebischer's stick and over the goal line.

Ian Laperriere put the Avalanche back up 2-1 with a wrist shot, but Walz scored again before the period ended. He chased down a dump-in pass by Randy Robitaille and fired a rising shot that beat Aebischer on the stick side.

Minnesota recorded the only goal of the second period to take a 3-2 lead as Wild defenseman Nick Schultz scored for just the second time this season. His shot from the high slot was blocked by Avalanche defenseman Patrice Brisebois, but Schultz corralled the rebound and whistled a low drive past Aebischer's glove.

After John-Michael Liles tied it 89 seconds into the third period, Gaborik netted the winner. Brian Rolston added an empty-net, power-play goal in the final seconds to seal Minnesota's victory.

Aebischer, who stopped Gaborik on a third-period breakaway, had 26 saves but lost to the Wild for the first time this season. Fernandez also had 26 saves.

Notes: To make room for former Islanders forward Mattias Weinhandl, claimed off waivers on Saturday, the Wild placed RW Alexandre Daigle on waivers. Daigle, who signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2003, has five goals and 23 assists this season. ... Avalanche C Joe Sakic was kept off the scoresheet but has 27 points in 25 career games against Minnesota. ... In separate third-period incidents, Tanguay and Minnesota D Kurtis Foster both received four-minute penalties for high sticking.

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