for this game

Wolski, Stastny give Avalanche another tight win

Apr 18, 2008 - 6:21 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- After an offensive outburst in Game Four, the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild got back to the norm Thursday.

Wojtek Wolski and Paul Stastny scored goals 79 seconds apart early in the third period, helping the Avalanche post a 3-2 victory over the Wild in Game Five and take a three-games-to-two lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Andrew Brunette also scored while Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg each recorded two assists for Colorado, which can close out the series at home on Saturday.

Jose Theodore made 38 saves for the Avalanche, who were outshot, 40-17.

"He saved us today," Forsberg said. "In the second period, Minnesota was all over us. Theo kept us in. He played outstanding today. He got us the win. It's great to have a goalie like that and steal a win on the road."

"We were losing every battle - on the wall, in front of the net," Colorado defenseman Jordan Leopold added. "Theo stood on his head and got us a win."

Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville agreed with his players.

"It was all Jose," he said. "He was the only reason we had a chance going into the third period. Jose's the reason. He made a couple of huge saves out of nowhere."

Theodore said there were no secrets to his success thus far.

"I've felt the same way pretty much every game," he said. "Every game, I try to stay focused, try to freeze the puck and keep it simple."

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brian Rolston tallied for Minnesota, which saw its all-time home playoff record fall to 4-9.

"We deserved to win the game," Wild right wing Marian Gaborik said. "The chances were there, but they didn't go in."

"It's our last life," Rolston said of Game Six. "We'll come out with the same kind of effort as we did tonight."

Colorado lost two of the first three games of the series in overtime by a score of 3-2, but captured Game Two in the extra session by an identical margin. The Avalanche erupted offensively in Game Four, posting a 5-1 victory, but things once again were tight on Thursday.

A member of the Wild when they rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit to defeat the Avalanche in the 2003 conference quarterfinals, Brunette gave Colorado the lead midway through the first period with his third goal of the series.

During a power play, Hejduk unleashed a shot from the left faceoff circle that hit a defender in front. The puck caromed to the left side of the doorstep, where Brunette gathered it and fired it past goaltender Niklas Backstrom with 7:36 to go in the first.

"They are great with the puck," Wild defenseman Kim Johnsson said. "They have some skilled guys. If you give them time, it's going to be trouble."

Bouchard answered with a man-advantage tally of his own late in the period to forge a tie. Defenseman Brent Burns made a cross-slot pass to Bouchard, who beat Theodore from the right circle with 40 seconds remaining.

The goal was the first of the series scored in the first 40 minutes by Minnesota. Of the Wild's nine goals over the first three games, seven were tallied in the third period and the other two in overtime.

Following a scoreless middle period, Wolski converted a power-play chance just over five minutes into the third to put Colorado ahead. From along the left wing boards, blue-liner John-Michael Liles dished to Wolski, whose one-timer from the top of the right circle beat Backstrom at 5:06 for a 2-1 edge.

"Timely power-play goal for us," Quenneville said. "Great shot, a one-timer. Wolski got a lot of wood on that one. It was very timely."

"We'd been all over those guys and they got that one lucky break," Minnesota's Pavol Demitra said. "All of a sudden, it was 2-1."

Shortly thereafter, Stastny lifted a backhander over the Finnish goalie from the doorstep to give the Avalanche a two-goal bulge.

"It was nice to see Paul score," Quenneville said. "He'll probably be a little more patient in the scoring area now as we go along. It was a great play. Paul is one of those players that feeds off of production and is a big part of our offense."

Stastny's first career playoff goal proved crucial as Rolston tallied with three seconds to go in the third, pulling Minnesota within one. But there was not enough time for the Wild to create a chance for the equalizer as the Avalanche moved within one win of advancing to the conference semifinals.

"We played our best period of the series (in the third)," Theodore said. "Solid defensively and created two goals."

Once again, Gaborik was kept off the scoresheet for the Wild. The All-Star Slovakian has yet to record a point in the series.

"When you are a 40-goal scorer in the regular season, you start to feel it a little when you go without scoring," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "You start to grip the stick a little harder, you start to play a little tighter."

Minnesota's 40 shots tied the franchise playoff record. The 17 shots recorded in the first period set a new team mark, eclipsing the previous one of 16 set in Game Three of the 2003 conference finals against Anaheim, also in the opening session.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 0 2 3
    MINNESOTA 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (MILAN HEJDUK, PETER FORSBERG)
    12:24
    MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 19:20
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) WOJTEK WOLSKI 2 (JOHN-MICHAEL LILES

    Apr 17 11:31 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL COLORADO 3
    MINNESOTA 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 2 (KIM JOHNSSON, JAMES SHEPPARD) 19:58
    (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Avalanche 3, Wild 2  3rd - 0:02Apr 17 11:29 PM
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    Avalanche 3, Wild 2  3rd - 0:02Apr 17 11:29 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL COLORADO 3
    MINNESOTA 1
    3RD PRD: COL - PAUL STASTNY 1 (MILAN HEJDUK, PETER FORSBERG) 6:25

    Avalanche 3, Wild 1  3rd - 13:35Apr 17 11:07 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL COLORADO 2
    MINNESOTA 1
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) WOJTEK WOLSKI 2 (JOHN-MICHAEL LILES, JORDAN
    LEOPOLD) 5:06

    Avalanche 2, Wild 1  3rd - 14:54Apr 17 11:02 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 0 1
    MINNESOTA 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (MILAN HEJDUK, PETER FORSBERG)
    12:24
    MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 19:20
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL

    Apr 17 10:38 PM
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    Avalanche 1, Wild 1  End of 1stApr 17 9:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 1 1
    MINNESOTA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (MILAN HEJDUK, PETER FORSBERG)
    12:24
    MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 19:20
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- ---

    Apr 17 9:44 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL COLORADO 1
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (BRENT BURNS, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 19:20

    Avalanche 1, Wild 1  1st - 0:40Apr 17 9:43 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL COLORADO 1
    MINNESOTA 0
    1ST PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 3 (MILAN HEJDUK, PETER FORSBERG)
    12:24

    Avalanche 1, Wild 0  1st - 7:36Apr 17 9:28 PM
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    Avalanche vs. WildApr 17 6:58 AM
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