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Avs Beat Wild In First Preseason Meeting

The two teams meet again on Oct. 4

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding / ColoradoAvalanche.com

On the road to start the exhibition slate, the Colorado Avalanche skated away with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night. 

It was the first time that the Avalanche and Wild, two emerging regular-season rivals, met in the preseason and it won't be the last time this year.

Minnesota got on the board first when Victor Bartley beat starting netminder Jeremy Smith with a shot 11:18 into the opening period. The Avs went into the dressing room down, but certainly not out of it.

After head coach Jared Bednar made some adjustments between frames, his club came out and scored just 2:15 into the middle stanza. Mike Sislo received a pass from Troy Bourke that he buried to tie the contest.

"I thought we got better as the game went on," Sislo said after the match. "The first period, we made some mistakes and the coach addressed them."

"He's addressed playing with speed and moving our feet and getting out of our D-zone quickly. We've worked all three areas of the ice in practice, and I thought it showed out there."

Rene Bourque, playing with Colorado on a professional tryout, scored again 8:34 later, converting on a power play to give the Avs a 2-1 lead.

Bourque's marker would hold up as the game-winner, but the Avalanche added two more tallies in the third-from Mikhail Grigorenko, who tipped a Duncan Siemens shot into twine, and Ben Smith, who potted an empty-netter-to seal the victory.

Jeremy Smith was relieved after 40 minutes of play between the pipes, allowing fellow goaltender Nathan Lieuwen the opportunity to face some pucks in the final frame. Smith finished with 16 saves and Lieuwen ended the match having stopped all 11 shots sent his way.

One of Lieuwen's saves could be an early candidate for save of the year, as the 25-year-old Abbotsford, British Columbia, native swung his arm behind his back in an acrobatic attempt to prevent a ricocheting puck from getting past him.

Tweet from @Avalanche: Lieuwen with THE MOVES! https://t.co/SV68pJgnlJ

The Avs return to action on Wednesday night with a preseason matchup against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT.

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