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Rookie Sauve gets fourth win

1/5/2004

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.

Game notes
Avalanche forward Paul Kariya missed his 20th straight game
and 30th of the season because of a sprained right wrist. Kariya,
however, has resumed skating with the team and could return this
week. ... It was the last of four straight division games for
Colorado in the past seven days. ... Fernandez was unbeaten in his
previous five starts.