NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Colorado
(Tuesday, November 4th)
Final Score: Minnesota 4, Colorado 4
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Antti Laaksonen recorded two goals and an assist, as the Minnesota Wild welcomed back Marian Gaborik and skated to a 4-4 tie with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
Gaborik, the team's leading scorer last season, ended his holdout on Friday and re-signed with Minnesota. The 21-year-old All-Star was a restricted free agent and had not played this season before the contest. He finished with no points and four shots.
Christoph Brandner and Andrew Brunette also scored for the Wild, who are unbeaten in their last four games (3-0-1). Goaltender Manny Fernandez finished with 32 saves in Minnesota's first visit to Denver since upending the Avalanche in the seventh game of last spring's first-round playoff series.
Steve Konowalchuk lit the lamp twice, including the game-tying goal in the third period, for Colorado, which beat the New York Rangers in overtime on Sunday. Derek Morris notched a goal and an assist in the contest, while Cody McCormick scored his first NHL goal for the Avalanche.
Colorado defenseman Adam Foote left the game in the second period with a lower body injury and did not return.
The Wild broke a 2-2 tie near the midpoint of the second period. Alexandre Daigle held the puck in the right corner and centered it before Brandner beautifully deflected his third goal of the season past Colorado starting netminder David Aebischer.
A similar goal gave the visitors a two-goal edge with 1:13 to go in the second stanza. Richard Park was cradling the puck along right half-wall and threw it on net. Laaksonen got his stick on the puck and it trickled over the line.
Aebischer was pulled after the conclusion of the second period and finished with 10 saves on just 14 shots in 40 minutes of action. Philippe Sauve replaced Aebischer and turned aside all 10 shots he faced in a great relief effort.
Sauve's appearance ignited the Avs, as a great save from in close preceded Colorado's third goal.
Morris took a victorious draw at the left point, walked in and let loose a rocket that screamed into the upper right side of the net as Colorado pulled within 4-3 at the 7:26 mark of the third period.
A defensive mistake by Wild defenseman Brad Bombardir allowed Colorado to record the tying goal. Konowalchuk stole the puck from Bombardir at the right circle, walked in, faked a shot, and tucked the puck around Fernandez to tie the game with 8:05 to play in regulation.
Sauve, who made four stops in the overtime period, kept the Avalanche in the game with two great saves on two separate Gaborik breakaways in the extra session and the contest ended in the 4-4 stalemate.
The Wild scored twice late in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Laaksonen tallied on a wrist shot while skating in on a 2-on-1 with Wes Walz at 17:47 before Brunette's backhander found the back of the net with 59 ticks to go.
Before five minutes had been completed in the middle stanza, though, the Avalanche had evened the contest.
First, at 3:47, Morris fired a slap shot from the right point and Konowalchuk was able to deflect the puck in midair before it bounced past Fernandez.
Just over a minute later, McCormick made it 2-2. A shot from the point got caught up in sticks and skates in the high slot. A backhander by Jim Cummins was then stopped, but McCormick poked it in from near the right post with 15:05 to go in the second.
Minnesota had scored a power-play goal in a club-record nine straight games, but finished 0-for-4 with the extra man in the contest. The Avalanche had two power-play opportunities, but were held scoreless...Colorado forward Peter Forsberg missed his third straight game with a groin injury. Colorado also continues to play without Paul Kariya, who has now missed seven games in a row with a wrist injury...Colorado is 7-1-3 against the Wild in the last 11 non- playoff matchups. The Wild have still never won in Colorado during the regular season in their brief three-year existence (0-7-2).
11/05 00:18:42 ET