for this game

Brunette, Wild keep Avalanche reeling

Nov 7, 2008 - 5:49 AM By Dave Reed PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

DENVER (Ticker) -- Andrew Brunette scored in his 800th career game and Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves as the Minnesota Wild recorded a 3-1 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in a battle of Northwest Division rivals.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Benoit Pouliot also tallied and defenseman Marek Zidlicky notched two assists for Minnesota, which improved to 2-3-0 in its last five contests.

Darcy Tucker scored and Peter Budaj turned aside 17 shots for Colorado, which has been outscored, 21-8, en route to losing five straight games.

Facing the NHL's top penalty-killing team, the Avalanche went 0-for-7 on the power play.

"Backstrom has been doing great and our penalty kill has been really good," Bouchard said. "When you kill that many penalties, you have a good chance of winning the hockey game.

"That's huge, especially on the road. After that, we tried to close the game and tried to give them as few chances as possible. We got in trouble with a lot of penalties tonight, but our PK did a great job."

Colorado was playing without captain Joe Sakic, who left Wednesday's practice with a strained back.

Making its first visit to the Pepsi Center since they were eliminated by Colorado in their Western Conference quarterfinals last postseason, Minnesota opened the scoring just 3:35 into the contest.

After Zidlicky was denied by Budaj, Bouchard tapped the puck just inside the right goalpost for his second goal of the season.

Pouliot doubled the advantage just over four minutes later.

With Minnesota on the power play, Zidlicky's shot from the left faceoff circle handcuffed Budaj, and Pouliot knocked the rebound under his left pad for his fourth tally of the campaign.

Backstrom made the goal stand with a pair of stellar saves. The Finn denied Ryan Smyth from the doorstep with a pad save with 2:08 remaining in the first period, then stopped a loose puck after it ricocheted off Eric Belanger 55 seconds later.

"I saw him coming and I was pretty sure Smyth was going to pass. I cheated a little bit and got lucky that he didn't get the shot off the ice," Backstrom said of the first save. "Sometimes you need luck, and we had it today."

"He played well, made a couple of key saves for them," Colorado veteran defenseman Adam Foote said.

Brunette gave the Wild a three-goal cushion midway through the second period. Untouched at the right post, Brunette accepted a feed from Antti Miettinen and tapped it into the empty net for his fifth goal of the season and 196th career.

"I kind of forgot (it was my 800th game) until this morning," Brunette admitted.

Tucker got Colorado on the scoreboard nearly 2 1/2 minutes later, but that was all the Avalanche could muster against Backstrom.

"A little bit better start to the hockey game would give us the opportunity to maybe only be only down a goal," Tucker said. "Then when we do start playing better in the second or third, we're right there."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 1 0 3
    COLORADO 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 3:35
    MIN - (PP) BENOIT POULIOT 4 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    7:44
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 5 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU) 9:56
    COL - DARCY

    Nov 6 11:25 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 1 3
    COLORADO 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 3:35
    MIN - (PP) BENOIT POULIOT 4 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    7:44
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 5 (ANTTI MIETTINEN, MIKKO KOIVU) 9:5

    Nov 6 10:36 PM
  • 5
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 0:35Nov 6 10:35 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    COLORADO 1
    2ND PRD: COL - DARCY TUCKER 2 (T.J. HENSICK, JOHN-MICHAEL LILES) 12:18

    Wild 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 7:42Nov 6 10:23 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    COLORADO 0
    2ND PRD: MIN - ANDREW BRUNETTE 5 (UNASSISTED) 9:56

    Wild 3, Avalanche 0  2nd - 10:04Nov 6 10:17 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 2 2
    COLORADO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 3:35
    MIN - (PP) BENOIT POULIOT 4 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    7:44
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN

    Nov 6 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    COLORADO 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) BENOIT POULIOT 4 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, ERIC BELANGER)
    7:44

    Wild 2, Avalanche 0  1st - 12:16Nov 6 9:19 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    COLORADO 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 2 (MAREK ZIDLICKY, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 3:35

    Wild 1, Avalanche 0  1st - 16:25Nov 6 9:13 PM