Final

Series (Game 2 of 8)

Colorado leads 5-3

Game 1: Thursday, December 22nd
Wild3Final
Avalanche4
Game 2: Friday, December 23rd
Avalanche3Final
Wild5
Game 3: Thursday, January 5th
Avalanche4Final
Wild2
Game 4: Tuesday, January 31st
Wild2Final
Avalanche3
Game 5: Thursday, February 9th
Avalanche2Final
Wild1
Game 6: Tuesday, February 28th
Wild2Final
Avalanche4
Game 7: Sunday, March 5th
Avalanche3Final
Wild5
Game 8: Sunday, April 9th
Wild5Final
Avalanche2

Avalanche 3

(18-15-3, 39 pts)

Wild 5

(15-16-4, 34 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 23, 2005

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
COL 1 0 23
MIN 0 2 35

T. White (Wild - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Laaksonen (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Gaborik (Wild - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Late third-period surge helps Wild rally past Avalanche

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The defensive-minded Minnesota Wild used a quick-strike offense to win for the third time in four games.

Todd White and Marian Gaborik scored 36 seconds apart and the Wild netted three goals in the final 5:12 to rally for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

"Playing here, our guys have a little more intensity," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We had good legs, and a lot of energy. It was exciting, and we love to make it exciting."

Former Wild forward Antti Laaksonen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who beat Minnesota 4-3 on Thursday in Denver.

With the game tied 2-2 late, White, Gaborik and Marc Chouinard scored for Minnesota. Marek Svatos got his team-leading 19th goal for the Avalanche.

"We were able to get some quality goals late in the game," said White, who noted the importance of rebounding from Thursday's loss. "We kind of let one get away from us. They had gained some ground on us, and we had to get it back."

Colorado needed 26 seconds and one shot to take the game's first lead. Andrew Brunette scored against his former team for the second time in as many nights as he fought off defender Alex Henry and got off a backhand shot that beat goaltender Manny Fernandez low. Minnesota didn't record its first shot until more than seven minutes elapsed, yet the Wild nearly tied it near the midway point of the opening period when Kurtis Foster's drive from the high slot hit the left post.

The Wild took control in the second period, outshooting the Avalanche 9-4 and scoring twice to take the lead. Pascal Dupuis' fourth of the season tied it after a scramble in front of goalie Peter Budaj. He turned aside two shots by White and another by Andrei Zyuzin before Dupuis' low shot from 20 feet out got through a crowd at the top of the crease, deflecting off Stephane Veilleux and past Budaj. After Colorado coach Joel Quenneville called a timeout, Brent Burns put Minnesota up 2-1. Budaj got a piece of Burns' shot from the top of the left circle, only to see the puck deflect up and in.

Minnesota threatened to add to its lead late in the second when a pair of Avalanche penalties gave the Wild a five-on-three power play for 85 seconds. Colorado's defense, which blocked 10 shots in the period, held the Wild to just one man-advantage shot and killed both penalties.

"That was a big kill," Quenneville said. "We really got some energy coming off that. That was a period of the game where we really had to step up, and we did."

Laaksonen tied it midway through the third, tapping in the puck after a long lead pass from Pierre Turgeon. But Fernandez made 11 of his 20 saves in the final period for the win.

"This game was played in spurts," Brunette said. "If we could've kept it tied with five minutes to play, we could've gotten a win tonight."

Budaj, making back-to-back starts for the first time in a month, had 19 saves in the loss.

Game notes


Minnesota, which boasts the NHL's top penalty-killing unit, went unscored upon in three chances. The Wild have killed 26 consecutive penalties, dating to a power-play goal by the Islanders on Dec. 13. ... Avalanche defenseman Kurt Sauer, a Minnesota native, joined the team on Friday after a rehab stint with AHL Lowell. He wasn't in the lineup. ... After recording one goal and three assists in his previous 21 games, Minnesota defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES