Final

Series (Game 4 of 6)

Colorado leads 3-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 16th
Avalanche5Final
Wild2
Game 2: Tuesday, November 4th
Wild4Final
OT
Avalanche4
Game 3: Wednesday, December 17th
Wild3Final
Avalanche2
Game 4: Sunday, January 4th
Wild1Final
Avalanche3
Game 5: Sunday, February 22nd
Avalanche3Final
Wild1
Game 6: Wednesday, March 31st
Avalanche4Final
OT
Wild5

Wild 1

(14-16-0, 38 pts)

Avalanche 3

(20-10-1, 48 pts)

9:00 PM ET, January 4, 2004

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
MIN 1 0 01
COL 0 2 13

A. Foote (Avalanche - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

P. Sauve (Avalanche - G): Saves: 25, Save Pct.: .962

P. Dupuis (Wild - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Rookie Sauve gets fourth win

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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