for this game

Demitra helps Wild move into first place, edge Avalanche

Jan 25, 2008 - 5:42 AM
By Derek Nagy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) - The Minnesota Wild got out of Denver with a win and into the All-Star break in first place.

Pavol Demitra used some deft puck-handling to give the Wild the lead in the second period and the defense and goaltender Niklas Backstrom made it stand up for a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

The win, Minnesota's first in Denver in four tries, gave the Wild a sweep of a three-game Northwest Division road trip to round out the first half of the season. The Wild defeated Vancouver and Calgary before dropping Colorado to 1-2-1 on its five-game homestand.

Minnesota grabbed a 3-2 lead when Demitra was responsible for some pretty - and lucky - puck handling. Defenseman Kurtis Foster slapped a hard shot that Jose Theodore initially saved, but the rebound caromed right to Demitra, who was streaking from behind the net toward the slot. He kicked the loose puck to himself as he slid past Theodore and put it into an wide open empty net for a 3-2 lead.

"It was a shot from the blue line and it came right to my skate and I had an open net," Demitra said. "It was kind of a lucky bounce, but those are nice sometimes."

"It was a bad rebound on my part. The shot was high, so I was kind of surprised a little bit that it was going for my face," Theodore said. "I just took my glove and it was going to the corner, but the guy was cutting across."

Minnesota improved to 10-7-2 against division opponents and 3-2-0 against Colorado.

"It was a tough one," Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles said. "Unfortunately, we got ourselves behind the eight-ball there right off the bat. Against a team like Minnesota, it's tough to come back on. They are a well-coached team and stick to their systems very well."

Colorado tied it just after killing off its second penalty of the game. Off a faceoff in Minnesota's zone won by the Avalanche, Marek Svatos grabbed the puck and pulled the defense and Backstrom toward him. He then found an open Wojtek Wolski in front of the net - and the easy one-timer tied the game at 2-2.

Minnesota had a stellar first period in which the Wild jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but surrendered a soft goal late in the period that allowed Colorado some life.

The Wild got their first goal just over five minutes into the period, as Demitra slid a nifty pass to Todd Fedoruk as both were streaking toward Colorado's net and Fedoruk got a stick on the puck and redirected it between Theodore's legs for a 1-0 Wild lead.

Minnesota made it 2-0 on the power play a short time later, as Marion Gaborik found a wide open Brian Rolston free in the middle of the slot. Rolston, who found himself all alone, had enough time to set up for a slap shot, which he promptly blasted under Theodore's glove to make it 2-0 Minnesota.

"We needed to step up on this trip and we knew that - and we did," Rolston said. "This was a tough road trip, and to get four points is huge for us. We need to keep playing consistent, that's the name of the game right now."

Colorado halved the deficit when a seemingly harmless shot wide of net was handled by Backstrom but the ricochet off his stick, hit the post and got behind him. Backstrom scrambled to try to keep out of his net, but the puck just inched over the line to get the Avalanche back in the game.

"We gave up a bad goal at the start and made it a little tougher for us," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Our last power play, we didn't work well to give them some momentum - but we won the game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 1 0 3
    COLORADO 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD FEDORUK 2 (PAVOL DEMITRA, NICK SCHULTZ) 5:25
    MIN - (PP) BRIAN ROLSTON 17 (MARIAN GABORIK, PETTERI
    NUMMELIN) 13:27
    COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 10 (MILAN HEJDUK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    19:32
    2ND PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSK

    Jan 24 11:32 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 11:23 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 1 3
    COLORADO 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD FEDORUK 2 (PAVOL DEMITRA, NICK SCHULTZ) 5:25
    MIN - (PP) BRIAN ROLSTON 17 (MARIAN GABORIK, PETTERI
    NUMMELIN) 13:27
    COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 10 (MILAN HEJDUK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    19:32
    2ND PRD: COL -

    Jan 24 10:38 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - PAVOL DEMITRA 10 (KURTIS FOSTER) 5:47

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 10:26 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: COL - WOJTEK WOLSKI 14 (MAREK SVATOS, TYLER ARNASON) 2:24

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 10:06 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 2
    COLORADO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD FEDORUK 2 (PAVOL DEMITRA, NICK SCHULTZ) 5:25
    MIN - (PP) BRIAN ROLSTON 17 (MARIAN GABORIK, PETTERI
    NUMMELIN) 13:27
    COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 10 (MILAN HEJDUK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    19:32
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Jan 24 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: COL - ANDREW BRUNETTE 10 (MILAN HEJDUK, JAROSLAV HLINKA)
    19:32

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    COLORADO 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) BRIAN ROLSTON 17 (MARIAN GABORIK, PETTERI
    NUMMELIN) 13:27

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    COLORADO 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - TODD FEDORUK 2 (PAVOL DEMITRA, NICK SCHULTZ) 5:25

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 24 9:17 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Flyboy Added 5 roots

    Wild vs. AvalancheJan 23 6:22 PM