Minnesota at Colorado

Wild's Havlat scores lone goal, Avalanche suffer first loss in 20 days

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche were well-rested, had the hot goalie and were aiming for a bit of history. Minnesota had two ailing goaltenders and was coming off a hard-fought game against Detroit 24 hours earlier.

Sure enough, it made for another shutout.

Only, it wasn't Colorado's Craig Anderson who was celebrating afterward but the Wild's Josh Harding, Minnesota's backup who battled through a sore hip to record his first shutout of the season.

Martin Havlat's goal with 4:49 left sent the Wild to a 1-0 victory against Colorado on Thursday night, denying Anderson another shutout and handing the Avalanche their first loss since Jan. 8 at Carolina.

Anderson, going for his third shutout in four games, slid to his right in anticipation of a shot from Kyle Brodziak, who instead backhanded the puck back to Havlat. The Wild forward was sandwiched between two Colorado defenders and slid the puck into the open net.

"We were probably fortunate on the bounce," Minnesota coach Todd Richards said. "In this game, that's what we needed."

Anderson's shutout streak ended at 126 minutes, 24 seconds, and Colorado's winning streak was snapped at six.

With Niklas Backstrom sidelined by a bad back, Harding gutted out a sore hip. At one point midway through the third period, the Wild feared that emergency goalie Wade Dubielewicz, who had arrived from the minors 20 minutes before the puck dropped, might have to go in.

"I was concerned at that point in watching him try to get up," Richards said. "He looked like he was hurting and in a lot of pain. The referee went over and talked to him and he gave him the OK. Luckily for us he was able to finish the game."

Anderson, who finished with 25 saves, was pulled with 2:29 left when the Avs had a power play, but Harding had two of his 29 saves during the 6-on-4 disadvantage to seal Minnesota's fifth victory in six games against the Avalanche this season.

Anderson had allowed only one goal in 304 minutes, 25 seconds before Havlat scored.

"Both goalies played really well tonight, it just came down to a bounce," Avs center Matt Duchene said. "Havlat made a good play there, but they also got some luck on that. The puck just kept coming back to them and they were able to go and jam it in."

Colorado coach Joe Sacco said poor defense had as much to do with the goal as anything.

"There was five minutes to go in the game there, we can't allow that goal at that particular time," Sacco said. "It's not an odd-man rush or anything like that. We had bodies back. We just have to do a better job of not allowing him to score at that moment. We have to be harder in those areas."

Sacco complained that Harding also had too good a view of way too many shots.

"We've got to make it more difficult on him. We've got to put people in front of him to make it easier on ourselves," Sacco said. "And we don't get a power play until the third period. Not to use that as an excuse, but we don't really generate much until the third period."

Neither did the Wild, who failed to score on five power plays before Havlat's goal.

"We didn't get frustrated on the ice or on the bench," Havlat said. "We kept battling until the last second."

Minnesota's first penalty was a holding call on Kim Johnsson at 5:16 of the third period.

Colorado had outscored opponents 15-2 during the first five games of a six-game homestand. The Avs were going for their best homestand of at least five games since moving to Denver. Their previous best was 5-0-1 in 2005.

Notes

  • Harding's last shutout was Oct. 14, 2007, at Anaheim.
  • Five of the six games between the teams were decided by a goal and the other, a 5-3 Minnesota victory, featured an empty-net goal in the closing seconds.
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Josh Harding stops 29 Avalanche shots to get his first shutout of the season.  (US Presswire)
Josh Harding stops 29 Avalanche shots to get his first shutout of the season. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Minnesota  (27-23-4) «0011
Colorado (30-16-6)0000
Three Stars
J. Harding
MIN


Saves: 29
Save Pct.: 1.000
M. Havlat
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
C. Anderson
COL


Saves: 25
Save Pct.: .962
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
15:11Martin Havlat (11), Backhand Shot. Assist: Brodziak, Zidlicky
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:43Quincey, 2 min, Interference
09:01Cumiskey, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
06:03McLeod, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
10:58Tucker, 2 min, Boarding
3RD PERIOD
52.0Galiardi, 2 min, High-Sticking
05:16Johnsson, 2 min, Holding
17:31Latendresse, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
 123T
Minnesota910726
Colorado6111229
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Josh Harding59:37290
Craig Anderson57:24251
Game Information
Attendance - 11597
Referees - Marc Joannette, Steve Kozari
Linesmen - Don Henderson, Lyle Seitz
 
Other Games
NYI 1 Final
Car 4
Chi 4 Final
OT
SJ 3
Ott 4 Final
Pitt 1
StL 2 Final
Edm 1
Cal 2 Final
Pho 3
LA 4 Final
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Atl 4 Final
Phi 3