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Cullen has big game as Wild down Avs

Dec 24, 2010 - 6:07 AM
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Matt Cullen was involved in every Minnesota score, tallying two goals and an assist, as the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1, at the Pepsi Center.

"It was one of those games that you kind of understand the importance of it," Cullen said. "It's a big game. I think a lot of guys rose to the occasion. A lot of guys brought their A game, it's such a crucial point in the season for us. It's not easy to get on a roll. We wanted to fight to keep that momentum going. It was just a big win."

Niklas Backstrom stopped 36-of-37 shots for Minnesota, which has won three straight for the first time since November 14-19. Andrew Brunette added a goal in the win.

David Jones scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, whose six-game win streak was snapped on Tuesday's 5-0 loss to Los Angeles and now have dropped two straight.

Craig Anderson allowed three goals on just 14 shots before getting pulled in the second period. Peter Budaj ended the contest turning away all 18 shots he faced.

The game's scoring opened after Cal Clutterbuck went on the breakaway 9 1/2 minutes in the first. Anderson made the save, but Cullen collected the rebound and wristed it into the wide open net.

Colorado answered back 45 seconds later on Jones' power-play goal, but Cullen tallied his second goal of game to regain the Minnesota edge, 2-1, at the 16:04 mark of the first.

Nearly three minutes into the middle frame, Brunette backhanded a rebound from the back boards to gave Minnesota a 3-1 edge and Anderson was promptly pulled after the goal in favor of Budaj.

Backstrom was strong during the final period, turning away 15 shots. Meanwhile, the conservative play of the Wild only produced only eight shots to hang onto the lead.

"You've got to give him credit, he played great," said Colorado forward David Jones. "At the end of the third period, we were peppering him pretty good and he stood in there. It's going to be tough to win a game with one goal so we've got to do a better job."

Game Notes

It was Cullen's first two-goal game of the season...Avalanche center Greg Mauldin was injured during a hit on Marco Scandella in the third period. Mauldin was on the ice for quite some time before he left the ice with help and never returned...The Wild have taken six of the last eight against Colorado.


    Dec 23 11:32 PM

    End of 2nd

    Dec 23 10:39 PM
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    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 9:36Dec 23 10:22 PM
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    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 10:09Dec 23 10:21 PM
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    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 9:52Dec 23 10:21 PM

  • Minnesota Power-Play Goal - Andrew Brunette (7), at 2:46.

    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 17:14Dec 23 10:07 PM

    End of 1st

    Dec 23 9:45 PM

  • Minnesota Goal - Matt Cullen, at 16:04.

    Wild 2, Avalanche 1  1st - 3:56Dec 23 9:39 PM

  • Ryan O'Byrne slap shot is wide.

    Wild 1, Avalanche 1  1st - 9:23Dec 23 9:26 PM

  • David Jones wrist shot on Niklas Backstrom.

    Wild 1, Avalanche 0  1st - 9:53Dec 23 9:25 PM

  • Colorado Power-Play Goal - David Jones (12), at 10:08.

    Wild 1, Avalanche 1  1st - 9:52Dec 23 9:25 PM

  • Minnesota Short-Handed Goal - Matt Cullen (7), from Cal Clutterbuck at 9:23.

    Wild 1, Avalanche 0  1st - 10:37Dec 23 9:23 PM

    1st Period - 20:00

    Dec 23 9:08 PM
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    Wild vs. AvalancheJun 23 6:02 AM