Final

Series (Game 7 of 8)

Colorado leads 5-3

Game 1: Thursday, December 22nd
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Avalanche4
Game 2: Friday, December 23rd
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Wild5
Game 3: Thursday, January 5th
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Game 4: Tuesday, January 31st
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Avalanche3
Game 5: Thursday, February 9th
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Wild1
Game 6: Tuesday, February 28th
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Avalanche4
Game 7: Sunday, March 5th
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Game 8: Sunday, April 9th
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Avalanche 3

(34-23-6, 74 pts)

Wild 5

(30-28-5, 65 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 5, 2006

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
COL 2 0 13
MIN 2 1 25

W. Walz (Wild - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

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

A. Tanguay (Avalanche - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Minnesota 5, Colorado 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Marian Gaborik rarely kills penalties. After his latest performance, it might become a much more common occurrence.

Gaborik's second career short-handed goal, scored in the third period, was the winner as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Sunday.

With the Wild killing a four-minute power play, Gaborik took a pass from Wes Walz on a 2-on-1 break and snapped a 3-3 tie to give Minnesota its first post-Olympics victory. If it had been a simple minor penalty, Gaborik might not have been on the ice.

"He hadn't been playing well defensively, so when I put him out there, it was a risk," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, who earned his 400th NHL win. "But we had four minutes to go, so I couldn't go with just four guys, I had to go with six guys."

Walz scored twice for Minnesota, which was playing at home for the first time since Feb. 9.

Alex Tanguay had three assists for the Avalanche, who lost for the second time in two nights. Colorado was beaten 4-1 at Dallas on Saturday, starting a stretch in which the Avalanche will play nine of 10 on the road.

Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said the Wild used Colorado's formula of clutch offense to get the victory.

"We've been fortunate to get the timely goal, but tonight they did," he said. "Anytime you get a short-handed goal it's going to swing the game."

Colorado used a 5-on-3 power play to open the scoring, when Andrew Brunette lifted a backhand shot over goaltender Manny Fernandez and into the upper left corner of the net. It was Colorado's only goal on six man-advantage situations.

"Our power play was not very effective," Quenneville said. "That's disappointing. But we played a pretty good game. If we can fix our power play, I think we'll be OK."

Walz converted on a 2-on-1 break a short time later. He fumbled a shot at the rebound of a blast by Gaborik, barely getting his stick on the puck, but his momentum carried the puck under David Aebischer's stick and over the goal line.

"I fanned on the shot off the rebound, but I just happened to get enough on it to get it over the goal line," said Walz, who notched his second multigoal game in a month.

Ian Laperriere put the Avalanche back up 2-1 with a wrist shot, but Walz scored again before the period ended. He chased down a dump-in pass by Randy Robitaille and fired a rising shot that beat Aebischer on the stick side.

Minnesota recorded the only goal of the second period to take a 3-2 lead as Wild defenseman Nick Schultz scored for just the second time this season. His shot from the high slot was blocked by Avalanche defenseman Patrice Brisebois, but Schultz corralled the rebound and whistled a low drive past Aebischer's glove.

After John-Michael Liles tied it 89 seconds into the third period, Gaborik netted the winner. Brian Rolston added an empty-net, power-play goal in the final seconds to seal Minnesota's victory.

Aebischer, who stopped Gaborik on a third-period breakaway, had 26 saves but lost to the Wild for the first time this season. Fernandez also had 26 saves.

Game notes


To make room for former Islanders forward Mattias Weinhandl, claimed off waivers on Saturday, the Wild placed RW Alexandre Daigle on waivers. Daigle, who signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2003, has five goals and 23 assists this season. ... Avalanche C Joe Sakic was kept off the scoresheet but has 27 points in 25 career games against Minnesota. ... In separate third-period incidents, Tanguay and Minnesota D Kurtis Foster both received four-minute penalties for high sticking.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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