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Avalanche 4, Wild 2 @NHLdotcom

DENVER (AP) - Beating the Minnesota Wild has become almost routine to David Aebischer.

Aebischer stopped 33 shots and continued his mastery of Minnesota as the Colorado Avalanche won 4-2 on Tuesday night.

"I have played pretty well against them," said the Colorado goalie. "It just seems like the guys play well in front of me and I make the saves I have to make."

Aebischer improved to 4-0 against the Wild this year and has allowed only six goals in those games. He is 9-2-0 against Minnesota.

"It doesn't seem like much to him to beat the Wild," said Milan Hejduk, who scored his 17th goal of the year and his 103rd career goal in the Pepsi Center. "He beats them every time."

Rob Blake, Brad May and Andrew Brunette had goals. Joe Sakic added three assists for the Avalanche.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Marian Gaborik had power play goals for Minnesota as Jacques Lemaire failed to earn his 400th coaching win.

Aebischer said it wasn't as easy as it looked. Coach Joel Quenneville agreed.

"I couldn't believe the quality of chances that there were in the first period," Quenneville said. "There were a lot of good chances and David made the saves."

Minnesota took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal by Bouchard at 15:12 of the first period. The Wild could easily have had more.

Aebischer stopped Gaborik, who was stationed at the front of the crease at 5:15 of the period. Pascal Dupuis nearly jammed in a backhander seconds later.

Bouchard finally scored when he froze Colorado defenseman Patrice Brisebois just inside the blue line and skated to the upper left circle to beat Aebischer with a slap shot.

The goal awakened the sluggish Avalanche and Blake and May scored 52 seconds apart. Blake banged back a rebound after goalie Manny Fernandez stopped Hejduk's shot at 16:38 and then May scored after Dan Hinote delivered a pass to him from behind the net.

Hejduk made it 3-1 only 52 seconds into the second period with a shot that caromed off the left post and into the back of the net. The Wild failed to capitalize on a double-minor high-sticking penalty on Brunette midway through the period.

"We just weren't in sync the whole game," Lemaire said. "We weren't playing as well as we did before the break and at times left our defensemen out to dry."

Aebischer survived a 20-second stretch without a stick when the Wild kept the puck deep inside the Colorado zone with under six minutes left. Defenseman Karlis Skrastins stopped one shot with his body during the flurry.

Gaborik cut it to 3-2 with a power play goal with 1:22 left. Brunette sealed the game with an empty net goal with 38 seconds left.

Aebischer had one breakdown when he inadvertently played the puck outside the trap zone and earned a delay of game penalty at 13:26 of the first period.

"I just got back from the Olympics," Aebisacher said. "I forgot I can't play the puck outside an area over here."

Playing for the Swiss Olympic team, Aebischer was 1-1-2 with a 2.10 goals against average.

Notes: Wild defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist, a member of the Swedish gold medal team, was a healthy scratch. ... Minnesota's penalty killing unit is the best in the NHL having allowed only 35 goals in 332 chances. ... Colorado leads the NHL with 77 first period goals. ... The Avalanche's Pierre Turgeon played for the first time since injuring a shoulder on Jan. 7. ... Colorado's Karlis Skrastins played in his 411th consecutive games, the longest active streak.

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