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White scores in overtime as Wild top Avalanche

Oct 6, 2006 - 3:21 AM ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Todd White came through in overtime to help the Minnesota Wild keep a good thing going.

White scored in overtime and Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist as the Wild won their season opener with a 3-2 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche.

Opening a five-game homestand, Minnesota raised its record in home openers to 5-0-1, while the Avalanche suffered their second overtime loss in two nights.

White recorded his 200th career point 93 seconds into the extra session, when he took Pierre-Marc Bouchard's feed, skated to the top of the left faceoff circle and slid the puck between goaltender Peter Budaj's pads.

"I just try to keep them accurate," White said. "Bouchard made a great play. The way he dropped it let me have a clear shot. I tried to go five-hole on him. It wasn't the hardest shot."

"Going into overtime, we believed we were going to win," Gaborik said. "We created a lot of chances in overtime. ... Winning this first game was very important and now we just have to keep it going."

The franchise leader in points with 276, Gaborik missed his last three home openers because of an injury, the lockout in 2004-05 and a contract dispute. Despite sitting out 17 games last season, he still managed to set a single-season team mark with 38 goals.

Minnesota opened the scoring with 6:50 to go in the first, when Gaborik made a centering pass to Branko Radivojevic, who fanned on his first attempt from in front before flipping a wrist shot over Budaj's left shoulder.

Gaborik needed only 26 seconds in the second period to give the Wild a 2-0 lead as he redirected Radivojevic's feed from the right faceoff circle inside the left goalpost.

"With Branko, we were forechecking well," Gaborik said. "He had a very good game. I thought we moved the puck well and had some very good chances. We created a lot on the cycle."

Looking to bounce back after Wednesday's overtime defeat to the Dallas Stars, the Avalanche halved the margin after being penalized for having too many men in the ice.

Brad Richardson made a steal at center ice and scored on a shorthanded breakaway, sliding the puck past netminder Manny Fernandez's right pad just over six minutes into the second period.

"He made a great play on the shorthander," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "Putting the puck at the net is something we've been stressing, and he got rewarded for a nice play."

Colorado tied the game with 6:06 left in regulation as Richardson took Ian Laperriere's feed along the right wing boards and fired a wrister from the faceoff circle past Fernandez for his second tally of the game.

"It's two tough games against two tough teams," Richardson said. "Obviously, you want to come away with the extra point each night, but that's the way it goes sometimes. We fought hard to come back, but they got the break in overtime."

Playing his first contest for the Wild, Pavol Demitra recorded two assists, and Fernandez made 29 saves to give coach Jacques Lemaire a 7-3-2 record in season openers.

"Me and Gaborik played together five years ago on the (Slovakian) national team," Demitra said. "We've known each other for so long. We are very close friends. We played a full season together in Slovakia for Trencin. It's great to be able to play with him."

Budaj stopped 28 shots for Colorado, which failed to score on five power-play opportunities.






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