Avs edge Wild in shootout

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Patrick Roy never played in an NHL shootout, and until Saturday night he never coached in one.
When the Colorado Avalanche finally -- and unexpectedly -- were thrust into one, the coach didn't hesitate when choosing his shooters.
He went with the only ones who scored in the last practice.
"It made it kind of easy," he said.
Center Ryan O'Reilly rewarded Roy's faith by scoring the only goal in the shootout and the Avalanche recovered from blowing a late two-goal lead to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves, left winger Gabriel Landeskog and center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal each and center John Mitchell had two assists for the Avalanche in a penalty-free game.
Centers Mikko Koivu and Matt Cooke scored in the final 3:27 and goalie Josh Harding made 23 saves for the Wild.
Entering Friday, the Wild were 12-2-2 in Denver since Jan. 24, 2008, and had won six of the past seven.
With their recent history, gaining a split of the home-and-home seemed probable, but they trailed by two with time running out.
Varlamov was in line for his second shutout in a week when Cooke beat him with a shot in the slot with 3:27 left.
"It wasn't that perfect in the third," Roy said. "I thought they were doing a lot of good things out there and when they scored with 3:27 left in the game, we knew we were in for a battle."
Harding came off for an extra skater in the final minute and Koivu buried a slap shot with 4.3 seconds left to send it to overtime.
"I got the loose puck and tried to make a quick shot. Just a couple of seconds to go and it happens fast," Koivu said. "I had a chance like that earlier in the period. I got another chance and it went in."
After a scoreless five-minute overtime, Varlamov and Harding made saves on the first two shooters in the shootout before O'Reilly beat Harding.
"I know coming in I had a lot of options, I just kind of read off him to see what he gives me," O'Reilly said. "If he gives me the upstairs, then it's a quick shot. If not, try to make a move and see what opens up. For me, it's just trying to read him."
Wild winger Jason Pomniville was Minnesota's last chance, but he couldn't beat Varlamov and the Wild lost for the second straight night despite dominating most of the game.
"We probably out-chanced them 2-1," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We lost the skill competition at the end of the game, the shootout, whatever you want to call it. Bottom line, I really believe we deserved the win in regulation."
Varlamov was impenetrable until the end. He made several key stops and benefited from a little luck when Cooke's backhander trickled by him and lay on the goal line for a moment.
Varlamov covered it up before the Wild could knock it in, and a video review upheld it was not a goal.
Midway through the second period, Minnesota center Torrey Mitchell came in on a late breakaway, but Varlamov turned away his shot to keep it 1-0.
"We did everything we could have but their goalie was great," Yeo said.
The Avalanche made Minnesota pay when defenseman Marco Scandella's turnover ended up on MacKinnon's stick, and the rookie put a wrister by Harding with 7:04 left in the second period to make it 2-0.
Landeskog gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead in the first when his backhand deflected off Harding 2:22 into the game. It was his ninth goal of the season.
NOTES: Avalanche C Paul Stastny returned to the lineup after missing two games with back spasms. ... Minnesota LW Zach Parise played for the second straight night after missing one game with a bruised foot. ... Entering Saturday, Colorado has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and is fourth in goals-against average at 2.08. ... Wild C Mikael Granlund missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He has missed four of the last five games overall. ... Avalanche C John Mitchell's two assists gave him 100 career points. ... Coming into Saturday, Minnesota has allowed the fewest five-on-five goals in the NHL with 32.

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