DENVER (AP) -- Milan Hejduk scored the game-winning goal, then made it clear
that it paled in comparison to another big event this weekend.
Hejduk's wife, Zlatuse, gave birth Saturday night to their first children,
twin boys Marek and David.
"It seems like the game was not that important, I'm sorry to say," Hejduk
said after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Sunday night
for their third straight victory.
"The birth of those two kids was an amazing thing for me."
Asked if he would cut the puck in half, Hejduk laughed.
"I don't know what we'll do with the puck," he said, "but we'll keep it
for both of them."
Game-winning goals, after all, have become commonplace for Hejduk, who has
36 in his career out of 181 total goals. That percentage of 19.9 is the highest
among all active players.
"I know he didn't get a whole lot of sleep," Avalanche coach Tony Granato
said, "but he showed up and played a very solid game for us. With his hands
around the net, he's as good as they get."
Teemu Selanne and Hejduk scored power-play goals in the second period, and
Peter Forsberg added an empty-net goal in the final minute, helping rookie Phil
Sauve earn his fourth career win.
Sauve made 25 saves, and Minnesota's Manny Fernandez had 26.
Jason Wiemer scored for the Wild.
Colorado moved within four points of Northwest Division-leading Vancouver,
which was idle.
The loss ended Minnesota's unbeaten road streak at seven games, a franchise
record. The Wild are 0-2-4-0 in their last six games overall.
"We played a great game tonight," Sauve said. "We didn't give them a lot
of scoring chances."
Granato said his team "played very solid. We played a smart, patient game.
Sauve made big saves when he had to. Adam Foote was in front of the net on the
first two goals, and his presence there was outstanding."
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire praised Colorado's first two lines, which
include Selanne, Hejduk and Forsberg.
"Those top two lines of theirs -- they have players on them that everybody
wants," Lemaire said. "They were on top of their game, moving the puck well.
"We had one bad period, the second. We gave them too many good chances."
Colorado was without captain Joe Sakic, who was diagnosed with a broken jaw
and had minor surgery Saturday. Sakic was injured Wednesday and played Friday
with a full visor and football-type face mask. He anticipated playing Tuesday
night against Columbus.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Wiemer's goal at 9:56.
Pascal Dupuis dug the puck out of the right corner and send a centering pass to
Wiemer, who was stationed just in front of the crease.
Selanne and Hejduk put the Avalanche up 2-1 in the second period.
Selanne scored his 11th goal at 4:51, taking the puck from behind the net,
skating just right of the goal and putting a backhander past Fernandez.
At 9:37, Hejduk took a pass from Forsberg and scored his 19th goal from a
difficult angle right of the net.
The Wild got several scoring chances late in the third period, but Sauve was
solid. He stopped Alexandre Daigle on a breakaway and Sergei Zholtok on a shot
from the slot.
Minnesota pulled Fernandez with a minute left, but Forsberg stole the puck
near center ice and hit the empty net at 19:15.