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Niklas Backstrom makes 35 saves, Wild beats Avalanche 3-1 @NHL

DENVER - Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Benoit Pouliot and Andrew Brunette scored goals in the Minnesota Wild's 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

Marek Zidlicky had two assists for the Wild. Darcy Tucker had Colorado's only goal and Peter Budaj made 17 saves. The Avalanche have lost five straight.

The Avalanche played without captain Joe Sakic. He was scratched from the lineup because of a lower back injury.

The Wild had a pair of first-period goals. Bouchard knocked in his own rebound just 3:35 into the game. Four minutes later, Pouliot scored off Marek Zidlicky's rebound on a power play to make it 2-0.

Brunette, playing his first game against his former team, made it 3-0 when he one-timed a pass from Antii Miettinen from behind the net midway through the second period.

Tucker got Colorado on the board when he knocked in a rebound of T.J. Hensick's shot with 7:42 left in the second period.

The Avalanche turned up the pressure in the third period, outshooting the Wild 14-4. Ryan Smyth had a chance to cut the lead to a goal, but his backhander at an open net went over the crossbar.

Colorado was 0-for-6 on the power play.

Notes: Colorado recalled Hensick and D Kyle Cumiskey from Lake Erie of the AHL. Forward David Jones was sent to Lake Erie to make room on the roster. ... Avalanche D Scott Hannan (flu-like symptoms) and Daniel Tjarnqvist (foot) were scratched. ... Brunette played in his 800th game and 465th straight, the longest active streak in the NHL.

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