ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The Colorado Avalanche are known for their offensive
firepower. Instead they used tight defense to snap their worst losing streak of
Milan Hejduk netted his team-leading 27th goal, and Joe Sakic and Paul
Kariya also scored as the Avalanche made the most of a season-low 14 shots in
beating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 Sunday night.
The Avalanche scored once in each period despite not having more than five
shots in any frame and snapped their losing streak at three games.
``Shots on goal don't count in the win-loss column,'' Avalanche coach Tony
Granato said. ``The win was all that matters. They'd scored a lot of goals
lately, so it was important for us to limit their chances.''
Minnesota, which scored 10 goals in its previous two games, generated more
scoring chances throughout, but struggled again on the power play. The Wild
have one of the NHL's worst man-advantage units and failed to score on five
``We were playing the best team in the NHL,'' Minnesota coach Jacques
Lemaire said. ``If you give them 14 shots on net and they probably had five
(scoring) chances, thank you, we'll take that any day.''
The Wild had the upper hand offensively in the first period, but Hejduk gave
the Avalanche a 1-0 lead when his rising shot beat Dwayne Roloson's glove.
Minnesota got even at 1 in the second period when Marc Chouinard scored for
the third time in two games. After a pass from Alexandre Daigle, Chouinard's
slap shot from the right circle got past David Aebischer.
When Avalanche defenseman Derek Morris was given simultaneous penalties for
elbowing and unsportsmanlike conduct shortly after, Minnesota seemed poised to
take the lead.
But Colorado held the Wild without a shot during the four-minute power play
and took the lead late in the second.
From the lower right corner of the rink, Sakic sent the puck to the front of
the net, where it glanced off the skate of Wild defenseman Brad Bombardier and
under Roloson's left pad.
Sakic wasn't ready to take any artistic credit for the goal he called lucky.
``What play?'' he joked. ``There was no play. I was just trying to throw it
across. But you take anything you can get.''
Kariya scored an unassisted goal after the Wild turned over the puck midway
through the third period.
``There's not many nights we can outshoot a team of Colorado's caliber and
come out with a loss,'' Wild forward Richard Park said.
Aebischer finished with 24 saves.