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NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Minnesota

(Monday, March 17th)

Final Score: Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Brent Burns had a goal and an assist, and Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves as Minnesota beat Colorado, 3-1, in a first- place showdown at Xcel Energy Center.

Branko Radivojevic and Stephane Veilleux also tallied for the Wild, who have won two straight on the heels of a five-game skid. With 86 points, they have also moved ahead of the Avs for the top spot in the Northwest Division.

Minnesota has won four of six versus Colorado this season, including all three games at home. The Wild have also won seven of their last 10 against the Avalanche, as well as four straight and six of eight as the host.

"It is good for our confidence to see that play against these guys," said Backstrom. "It's a really good team that they have. We now know how we should play them."

Joe Sakic had the lone goal, and Jose Theodore stopped 26-of-28 shots for Colorado, which has dropped three of five. Peter Forsberg returned after missing four games due to a groin injury, while Adam Foote was also back in the lineup after missing four of the previous five contests with a hip ailment.

The Avs and Wild have two more meetings left on the slate, including the season finale for both clubs on April 6.

"You look at three minutes out of sixty and that's a recipe for success," said Colorado head coach Joel Quenneville. "You play like that you'll be alright. We have to build off of the things we did well most of the night and go forward."

Minnesota scored the only goal of the first period, and it came on the power play when Burns ripped Brian Rolston's feed past Theodore from the mid- slot at 8:54.

The Avs evened things up in the second while on the man-advantage, as Sakic found open space between the circles and used a quick release to beat Backstrom to the short side at 4:51.

A redirection by Radiovojevic at 9:42 then put the Wild on top, and the score stood heading to the third.

Colorado peppered Backstrom with 15 shots in the final stanza, but he stood tall between the pipes. Veilleux then added the empty-net goal with just seven seconds to play, icing the win for Minnesota.

Game Notes

Minnesota is 21-11-5 as the host this year...Colorado was just 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Wild ended 1-for-3...Minnesota has nine games remaining in its regular season, one more than the Avalanche...Sakic tied Wayne Gretzky for 12th-all time with 204 power-play goals...Backstrom is now 33-0-2 when leading after the third period...Minnesota left wing Derek Boogaard appeared in his first game since January 22 (back injury).

03/17 23:00:16 ET

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