Final OT

Minnesota won 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Minnesota won 4-3

Game 1: Thursday, April 10th
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Game 2: Saturday, April 12th
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Game 3: Monday, April 14th
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Game 4: Wednesday, April 16th
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Game 5: Saturday, April 19th
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Game 6: Monday, April 21st
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OT
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Game 7: Tuesday, April 22nd
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7:30 PM ET, April 21, 2003

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 OT T
COL 0 0 2 02
MIN 0 0 2 13

R. Park (Wild - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Fernandez (Wild - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .917

D. Hendrickson (Wild - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Park's second goal lets Wild live another day

ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild sure aren't playing like a 3-year-old team making its postseason debut.

Richard Park scored his second goal of the game 4:22 into overtime Monday night to give the Wild a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche and force a decisive Game 7.

"We've accomplished something so far, and we don't want to let up,'' said Marian Gaborik, who put Minnesota ahead 2-0 midway through the third period.

"We want to go back strong and try to play the best game we've ever played.''

The Wild have won two straight on the brink of elimination.

The teams go at it again Tuesday night in Denver, with the winner moving on to the second round to face either St. Louis or Vancouver. The Blues and Canucks will also play Game 7 on Tuesday.

Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, anxious to get his team to Colorado, cracked one-liners throughout his postgame news conference.

"We could've taken our time, but we've got a game tomorrow,'' Lemaire said. "If we would've lost, we could've gone until 1 a.m.''

His team has been the surprise of the NHL this season, and Lemaire was asked if a Wild win in Game 7 should shock anybody anymore.

"We'll wait until tomorrow -- we'll get the shock after,'' he said to a room filled with laughter.

Of the 193 teams in NHL history that have trailed a series 3-1, only seven have come back to win two games on the road.

"We're going to be in our barn,'' Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy said, "and there's no reason for us not to be confident.''

After trailing 2-0 late in the third period, Colorado looked like the favorite for overtime after getting goals from Joe Sakic and Greg de Vries against Manny Fernandez in the final 3½ minutes.

But the Avalanche didn't even get a shot off in the extra period and now will play a Game 7 for the fifth straight series, dating to the Stanley Cup finals in 2001.

"We had a great feeling going into overtime,'' coach Tony Granato said. "We had all the momentum.''

But the Wild had confidence themselves, especially with an 8-1-10 regular-season record in the extra period.

"It says a lot about this team that we didn't give up,'' said Antti Laaksonen, who had an assist.

Park's bad-angle wrist shot slid underneath Roy's glove to send the crowd of 19,350 -- another overflow sellout -- into a frenzy.

"Everybody got chills,'' Gaborik said.

Roy, who stopped 66 of 69 shots during Games 2-4, gave up three goals for the second straight game. He made 20 saves. Roy has played 57 overtime games in the postseason and his record in those contests fell to a still stellar 40-17.

He matched Fernandez until 1:45 of the third period, when Minnesota went up 1-0 on Park's first goal.

Park, who hit the post with shots in Games 2, 3 and 4, rushed in from the right circle and zinged a wrist shot high over Roy's left shoulder.

The Wild have only a few forwards whose skating and shooting skills are on par with the Avs' best, but Gaborik -- the 21-year-old All-Star from Slovakia -- is one of them.

He darted past de Vries to track down a pass from Laaksonen, swooped in and slammed a shot at Roy's right shoulder that ricocheted off him and trickled into the net with 7:54 left in regulation.

The arena erupted with cheers, and it looked like the Wild were in control.

But they weren't.

The Avalanche, who outshot the Wild 11-4 in the third, threw a furious rally at Fernandez and forced overtime.

Sakic, on an assist from Peter Forsberg, scored his fifth goal of the series with 3:26 remaining to pull Colorado within one.

With 1:32 left, de Vries fired a shot through traffic that slid past Fernandez to tie it at 2.

Fernandez, who relieved Dwayne Roloson in the first period of Game 4 and stopped 17 of 18 shots, shone in his second career playoff start by making 22 saves.

In Game 5 in Denver, Fernandez made 28 saves and let in just two goals -- one with 27 seconds left.

"We've had so much success this season that I just wanted to make sure we had a good shot at it,'' Fernandez said.

Lemaire essentially conceded the series after the Wild lost 3-1 at home in Game 4, saying that his overmatched team would be happy with stealing one more victory.

They've managed to win two more against the third-seeded Avalanche, who have gone to a Game 7 in seven of nine series.

"We can't worry about what happened,'' Sakic said. "We've just got to be ready to play tomorrow.''

Game notes


Colorado D Adam Foote was scratched because of a sore foot. He's questionable for Tuesday's game, Granato said. ... Gaborik's three goals lead Minnesota in the series. ... Minnesota is 3-for-22 on the power play since Game 1.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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