Avalanche
Wild
2 - 3 Final - OT
  for this game

Gaborik lifts Wild over Avalanche

Mar 31, 2008 - 2:33 AM
By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The only thing that could have made Marian Gaborik's first trip to the 40-goal plateau would have been if his overtime game-winner against the Colorado Avalanche had clinched the Minnesota Wild's second consecutive playoff berth.

Gaborik scored a pair of goals and Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves as the Wild topped the Colorado, 3-2, to climb four points ahead of the Avalanche at the top of the Northwest Division.

As it turned out, Minnesota already had earned a spot in the playoffs by virtue of Nashville's overtime loss to Detroit earlier in the afternoon.

Gaborik's game-winner at 3:10 of overtime came on a 2-on-1 break with Czech countryman Pavol Demitra. His career-best 40th goal vaulted him into first all-time on the Wild's single-season scoring list.

After the Wild (43-28-9) forced a turnover in the defensive zone, Gaborik raced ahead with the puck up the right side and made a late pass to Demitra on the left side that took a funny bounce. But as he slid past the crease, Demitra regained control and fired back across to Gaborik, who authoritatively pounded the puck home into the open net.

"I just try to feed (Pavol Demitra) over there and it kind of trickled over to his feet, but he made a nice play there, handled the puck good and laid it flat," Gaborik said of the game-winning goal. "I had an open net. He made a nice play."

Gaborik's 80th point also broke Brian Rolston's previous franchise record of 79 points on the same night Rolston reached 30 goals for his third consecutive season and fourth overall.

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who rarely heaps praise upon his star and maintains he doesn't pay attention to goals scored, drew laughs from the media with his reaction to Gaborik's gaudy totals.

"Oh, good for him," Lemaire said, smiling. "I'm happy. I'm more happy we won."

"It definitely feels good to get 40 goals, especially in a big win for us," Gaborik said. "We got a couple games to go and just have to focus now on getting three days of good rest and the biggest game of the year is coming up, so hopefully we can get that division title."

Minnesota's third straight victory with two games left to play inches it closer to a Northwest Division title, but Colorado (42-31-7) remained in the hunt by stealing a point after falling behind 2-0 early.

Rolston's 30th goal came at 4:56 of the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Gaborik made it 2-0 at 8:19 after Minnesota failed to score during a 5-on-3 advantage. But with the shot total 6-1, the Wild offense went silent.

The Avalanche spent the next 22 minutes outshooting the Wild, 18-3, and tying the score in the process - eventually stealing a valuable point after coming into the contest losers of their previous three road tilts and with just two games remaining.

"When you fall behind against this team you know they are trying to shut you down and I thought they kind of relaxed in the second and we took over," Colorado defenseman Ruslan Salei said. "I think we played a really good game after we gave up those two goals and the second period showed that."

Jeff Finger cut the deficit in half at 1:21 of the second period and Salei knotted the score at 11:59 of the second. Both teams had several chances and hit posts before and after Salei's goal, but Gaborik's second tally decided the game and kept Colorado from creeping within a point of the Wild.

"It was big to get the one point," Finger said. "Tough way to lose the other point, but what are you going to do? We came back from two goals down and were able to salvage one."

Backstrom stopped 24 shots to improve to 9-2-4 in his last 15 starts and 7-1-1 all-time against Colorado.

Jose Theodore finished with 17 saves for Colorado, which had its three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 1-4-1 in his last six road games.








  • NHL
    FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 2 0 0 2
    MINNESOTA 2 0 0 1 3 FINAL IN OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 30 (KIM JOHNSSON, MIKKO KOIVU) 4:56
    MIN - (PP) MARIAN GABORIK 39 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    8:19
    2ND PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 8 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSK

    Mar 30 8:27 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    MINNESOTA 3
    OT: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 40 (PAVOL DEMITRA) 3:10

    Avalanche 2, Wild 3  End of OTMar 30 8:26 PM
  • 156
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    RUWTbot Added 69 roots (Overtime)

    Avalanche 2, Wild 2  OT - 3:33Mar 30 8:23 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 2 0 2
    MINNESOTA 2 0 0 2 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 30 (KIM JOHNSSON, MIKKO KOIVU) 4:56
    MIN - (PP) MARIAN GABORIK 39 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    8:19
    2ND PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 8 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 1:21
    COL - RUSLAN SALEI 6

    Mar 30 8:21 PM
  • 87
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    RUWTbot Added 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Avalanche 2, Wild 2  3rd - 4:03Mar 30 8:13 PM
  • 30
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Avalanche 2, Wild 2  3rd - 7:00Mar 30 8:10 PM
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    Avalanche 2, Wild 2  3rd - 19:55Mar 30 7:53 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 2 2
    MINNESOTA 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 30 (KIM JOHNSSON, MIKKO KOIVU) 4:56
    MIN - (PP) MARIAN GABORIK 39 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    8:19
    2ND PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 8 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 1:21
    COL - RUSLAN SALEI 6 (J

    Mar 30 7:35 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: COL - RUSLAN SALEI 6 (JEFF FINGER, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 11:59

    Avalanche 2, Wild 2  2nd - 8:01Mar 30 7:18 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    MINNESOTA 2
    2ND PRD: COL - JEFF FINGER 8 (JOE SAKIC, WOJTEK WOLSKI) 1:21

    Avalanche 1, Wild 2  2nd - 18:39Mar 30 7:03 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 0
    MINNESOTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 30 (KIM JOHNSSON, MIKKO KOIVU) 4:56
    MIN - (PP) MARIAN GABORIK 39 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    8:19
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COL 6

    Mar 30 6:42 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    MINNESOTA 2
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) MARIAN GABORIK 39 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN ROLSTON)
    8:19

    Avalanche 0, Wild 2  1st - 11:41Mar 30 6:23 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 30 (KIM JOHNSSON, MIKKO KOIVU) 4:56

    Avalanche 0, Wild 1  1st - 15:04Mar 30 6:16 PM
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    Avalanche vs. WildMar 30 10:36 AM
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    Avalanche vs. WildMar 21 2:58 PM