NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Minnesota
(Monday, December 1st)
Final Score: Colorado 6, Minnesota 5
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Paul Stastny had two goals and an assist, and capped a Colorado scoring binge with the eventual game-winner late in a four- goal second period as the Avalanche topped the Minnesota Wild, 6-5, at Xcel Energy Center.
Milan Hejduk also notched three points with two helpers and a goal in the second, where Stastny tallied both his markers as well. T.J. Hensick also lit the lamp in the middle stanza as Colorado erased a 3-2 deficit with the second-period outburst before having to hold on.
Peter Budaj was victimized for five goals on just 17 shots, but got the win behind a barrage for an Avalanche squad that has had trouble scoring this season.
"We got a couple good bounces, some nice passes -- we just kept going," Stastny said of the offensive breakout. "We're back to .500 and we have two days before the next game so we'll enjoy this one."
Colorado began a three-game road trip Monday, albeit in bizarre fashion, and is now 6-7-0 as the visiting team this year.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard had two goals and an assist while Mikko Koivu had two assists and a goal for Minnesota, which had won two straight and three of its last four games coming in.
Niklas Backstrom allowed a career-high six goals on 26 shots before Josh Harding took over for the third period, stopping all five shots he faced.
The Wild, still one point back of first-place Vancouver in the Northwest Division, is 7-5-1 at home this year and kicked off a three-game residency Monday. Vancouver suffered a 3-2 setback to Columbus earlier Monday.
Following a first period that featured four goals, Bouchard opened the middle frame with a power-play goal just 22 seconds in, banking the puck off a defender from the right of the net and in for a 3-2 lead.
Stastny then found the net for the first time by chipping in a backhander from the low slot, up and over Backstrom, tying the game 3-3 at the 3:49 mark.
The Avs proceeded to rattle of three straight scores. Hejduk picked off an errant Wild pass along the left boards and charged in on net -- firing a wrister up and over the left shoulder of Backstrom at 8:16.
Minnesota turned it over again, this time in the neutral zone, and Hensick broke in on net -- sliding the disc between the legs of Backstrom for a 5-3 game.
Ryan Smyth faked a shot and went right around a Wild defender -- cutting across the goal-mouth from the right for a shot that was blocked off by Backstrom -- but Stastny swooped in and buried the rebound with 2:09 left in the period to gain a three-goal lead. The tally came just 79 seconds after Hensick's goal.
The Wild got one back in that short span with Owen Nolan taking a centering feed from Andrew Brunette with the man advantage and firing a shot past Budaj through traffic for a 6-4 game after two periods.
Brent Burns made it a 6-5 game by cutting around a defender at the left circle and toward the net -- carrying the puck into the crease where it deflected off Budaj and in.
Minnesota put together a late flurry of chances -- even putting one past Budaj -- but several ticks past zero and the Avs skated off with the win.
"Some nights you struggle and those are the games you have to find a way to battle through," Koivu said. "I think in the third we did a good job with that -- but it just didn't happen tonight."
Bouchard started the barrage with his fourth of the season 5:50 into the contest but Marek Svatos tied things up just over three minutes later. David Jones netted his third of the season to put the Avs back in front with 7:17 left in the frame, but Kim Johnsson's shot from the high slot on a power play gave Koivu a perfect rebound to slam home, tying the game 2-2 after one.
The Avalanche got their first win in Minnesota since January 6, 2007...Colorado lost a 3-1 home decision to the Wild back on November 6...Minnesota came into Monday's contest second in the NHL on the power play at 24 percent (24-for-100) and went 3-for-4 with the man advantage, improving to 25.9 percent...The Avs played without Joe Sakic for the ninth time in 12 games due to a lingering back issue. He returned to the lineup on Friday against the Coyotes, but didn't play much and then sat out Saturday's 4-3 win over Tampa Bay. Sakic did not accompany Colorado to Minnesota and is out indefinitely...Colorado was without defenseman Adam Foote, who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday due to back and knee issues.
12/01 23:51:35 ET