NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Colorado
(Sunday, April 6th)
Final Score: Colorado 4, Minnesota 3 (SO)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Wojtek Wolski scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout, as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Minnesota Wild, 4-3, in the regular-season finale at the Pepsi Center.
In the first round of the shootout, Wolski skated in on Josh Harding and faked the backhander before pulling the puck back to the forehand and tucking it into the net. After Jose Theodore turned aside Petteri Nummelin's offering, Joe Sakic snapped a wrister past the glove of Harding. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a chance to extend the shootout for Minnesota, but his shot was stopped by the left pad of Theodore.
Sakic added a goal and an assist in regulation for the Avalanche, who clinched the sixth seed in the Western Conference and will open the playoffs on Wednesday in Minnesota. Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk also scored, while Peter Forsberg collected three assists. Theodore finished the game with 34 saves. Colorado finished the season with a record of 44-31-7.
"It did not start emotional today, but it picked up as the game went on," Sakic said. "It will be an exciting series. We know it will be tight - they have a good team over there. The game we had to have today, we won. We now have to bring it up to another level."
Mark Parrish, Keith Carney and Brian Rolston all scored for the Wild, who concluded the season at 44-28-10. Minnesota clinched its first-ever Northwest Division crown and will enter the postseason as the third seed. Pavol Demitra had two assists, while Harding made 33 saves.
"It reminded of an all-star game today," Rolston said. "There was no intensity or hitting, then it picked up in the third. There are no secrets now, it's just a matter of going out and getting it done. I am sure that there will be more of the rough stuff, after all it is the Stanley Cup playoffs. We got our home ice and it makes a big difference with our fans."
Trailing 2-1 heading into the third, Colorado scored a pair of power-play goals to pull ahead.
Sakic drew the Avalanche even at the 5:48 mark when he ripped a shot from the left circle that found room on the short side. Colorado grabbed its first lead of the game at 9:02. Hejduk found an opening in the right circle and one-timed Forsberg's pass high over the glove of Harding.
Rolston knocked in a rebound at the left side of the net, tying the score at three with 3:21 remaining in regulation.
The Wild had two power plays in overtime, but failed to connect.
Minnesota cashed in on the power play to grab a 1-0 lead with 2:58 remaining in the first period. With Ryan Smyth serving a minor for hooking, Demitra sent a shot from the right corner that Theodore tried to pin against the post, but Parrish managed to jammed it home for his 16th goal of the season.
Colorado tied the game on Stastny's 24th tally of the season at the 5:25 mark of the second. Forsberg sent a pass to the low slot for Stastny, who buried it in the back of the net.
Carney's first marker in over a year restored the lead for Minnesota with 3:28 to go in the middle stanza. The veteran defenseman, who last tallied on April 5, 2007, one-timed a feed from Bouchard that beat Theodore on the stick side.
The Wild wrapped up their road slate at 19-17-5...Colorado finished its home schedule 27-12-2...Colorado has won four straight at home...Colorado finished the regular season with 95 points for the third consecutive season. The last team to record the exact same point total in three straight seasons was the Phoenix Coyotes from 1998-99 to 2000-01 with 90 points.
04/06 23:32:52 ET