Avs drop two in two nights
ST. PAUL, Minn. Marian Gaborik rarely kills penalties. After his latest performance, it might become a much more common appearance.Gaboriks second career short-handed goal, scored in the third period, was the winner as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Sunday.With the Wild killing a four-minute power play, Gaborik took a pass from Wes Walz on a 2-on-1 break and snapped a 3-3 tie to give Minnesota its first post-Olympics victory. If it had been a simple minor penalty, Gaborik might not have been on the ice.He hadnt been playing well defensively, so when I put him out there, it was a risk, said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, who earned his 400th NHL win. But we had four minutes to go, so I couldnt go with just four guys, I had to go with six guys.Walz scored twice for Minnesota, which was playing at home for the first time since Feb. 9.Alex Tanguay had three assists for the Avalanche, who lost for the second time in two nights. Colorado was beaten 4-1 at Dallas on Saturday, starting a stretch in which the Avalanche will play nine of 10 on the road.Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said the Wild used Colorados formula of clutch offense to get the victory.Weve been fortunate to get the timely goal, but tonight they did, he said. Anytime you get a short-handed goal its going to swing the game.Colorado used a 5-on-3 power play to open the scoring, when Andrew Brunette lifted a backhand shot over goaltender Manny Fernandez and into the upper left corner of the net. It was Colorados only goal on six man-advantage situations.Our power play was not very effective, Quenneville said. Thats disappointing. But we played a pretty good game. If we can fix our power play, I think well be OK.Walz converted on a 2-on-1 break a short time later. He fumbled a shot at the rebound of a blast by Gaborik, barely getting his stick on the puck, but his momentum carried the puck under David Aebischers stick and over the goal line.I fanned on the shot off the rebound, but I just happened to get enough on it to get it over the goal line, said Walz, who notched his second multigoal game in a month.Ian Laperriere put the Avalanche back up 2-1 with a wrist shot, but Walz scored again before the period ended. He chased down a dump-in pass by Randy Robitaille and fired a rising shot that beat Aebischer on the stick side.Minnesota recorded the only goal of the second period to take a 3-2 lead as Wild defenseman Nick Schultz scored for just the second time this season. His shot from the high slot was blocked by Avalanche defenseman Patrice Brisebois, but Schultz corralled the rebound and whistled a low drive past Aebischers glove.After John-Michael Liles tied it 89 seconds into the third period, Gaborik netted the winner. Brian Rolston added an empty-net, power-play goal in the final seconds to seal Minnesotas victory.Aebischer, who stopped Gaborik on a third-period breakaway, had 26 saves but lost to the Wild for the first time this season. Fernandez also had 26 saves.
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