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Wild 2, Avalanche 1 (SO)

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Goaltender Josh Harding made 26 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in a shootout as the Minnesota Wild edged the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Saturday night.

Right winger Nino Niederreiter scored in regulation while center Mikko Koivu and left winger Zach Parise scored in the shootout for the Wild, who beat Colorado for the first time in three tries this season.

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves and center Maxime Talbot scored in regulation for the Avalanche.

The Wild offense struggled lately, scoring five goals in previous four games. Minnesota had just three wins in its last 10 games before rallying Saturday to tie Colorado for third in the Central Division.

The Avalanche lost three of four after a hot start to the season.

Center Matt Duchene scored Colorado's only shootout goal before Harding made saves on right winger P.A. Parenteau and center Ryan O'Reilly to give the Wild the win.

Parise tied it on Minnesota's first chance and Koivu followed with what proved to be the game-winner for the Wild, who have struggled for goals lately.

Saturday's game didn't help alleviate Minnesota's offensive problems, but it got the win anyway. The Wild had just 16 shots on goal in the second period and couldn't take advantage of a long shift by the Avalanche late in the frame. Colorado players were gassed trying to clear the puck for a change but the Wild didn't cash in.

The Avalanche opened the scoring midway through the second when defenseman Corey Sarich's shot from the point ricocheted of Talbot's skate and past Harding with 9:12 left in the frame.

The Wild pressed for the equalizer in the third but it appeared it wouldn't be enough. They failed to convert on their only power play, which came midway through.

They finally got the equalizer when defenseman Ryan Suter's shot from the blue line was tipped in by Niederreiter with 3:53 left in regulation.

NOTES: Avalanche D Jan Hejda (sprained right knee) returned to the lineup after missing four games. Hejda was injured in Colorado's loss to Edmonton on Dec. 5. ... Minnesota C Mikko Koivu has 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in the last 19 games. LW Zach Parise leads the team with 26 points and has eight points (4-4) in his last 11 games. ... There was a moment of silence for the families, students and faculty who were impacted by the shooting at Arapahoe High School in suburban Denver on Friday. ... The NHL trophies were on display before and during the game at the Pepsi Center. Ticketholders could get in a few hours before the puck drop to see them all, including the Stanley Cup.
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