Ryan Smyth's goal and assist lead Colorado past Minnesota, 3-1 - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Ryan Smyth's goal and assist lead Colorado past Minnesota, 3-1

Publish date:

The Wild are 0-2-1 since starting the season 7-0-1. The Avalanche improved to 5-0-0 at home.

Peter Budaj had 29 saves for the Avalanche. Minnesota rookie Josh Harding, starting consecutive games for the first time, made 19 saves. He replaced Niklas Backstrom, who had a groin injury. Minnesota forwards Pavol Demitra and Marian Gabork also sat out with groin injuries.

Colorado outshot the Wild 14-5 in the second period and broke through at 15:30. Sakic corralled the puck behind the Minnesota net and passed to the left side of the goal. Svatos skated across the front of the net and slid a backhander past Harding for his fifth goal of the season.

The Wild nearly tied it with 2:58 left in the game. Petteri Nummelin skated around the back of the net with the puck and tried to put a shot into the top of the net. Budaj reached with his glove and made the save.

Wojtek Wolski got an insurance goal with 37 seconds left when Paul Stastny fed him in the slot and he beat Harding with a one-timer.

The Avalanche got on the board first when Smyth worked a give-and-go with Sakic and beat Harding with a one-timer at the 8:29 mark of the opening period.

Minnesota tied it on a power play when Bouchard's pass from the corner found Eric Belanger between the circles, and Belanger wristed a shot past Budaj with 4:18 left in the first period.

Notes: Backstrom and Gaborik injured their groins during practice Saturday. Demitra was hurt in Minnesota's win over Colorado on Oct. 21. ... Svatos and Smyth tied Sakic and Stastny for the Avalanche team lead in goals. ... Colorado forward Milan Hejduk missed his fourth straight game with a back injury. ... Sunday's game time was moved from 8 p.m. ET to 3 p.m. to avoid a conflict with Game 4 of the World Series, which was played at Coors Field in Denver.