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A night of debuts in St. Paul

After a couple of days off, first-ever permanant Captain Mikko Koivu leads the 1-6 Wild against the impressive Avalanche. The team had Martin Havlat back for the depleted forward corps. Newly-acquired right winger Chuck Kobasew also debuted tonight. The Wild subjected the home crowd to their horrible new third sweater.

Both teams came out soft, though an opposing rookie had a walk-in shot on goal that Backstrom easily stopped.
The Wild went on the power play first. they looked disciplined around the Avalanche goal and it paid off, D-man Brent Burns scoring on a rebound. Minnesota had four shots on goal during the advantage.
The best power play in the league had no shots on goal in their turn on the advantage against the Wild as the first ten minutes passed away.
A too-many men penalty against the Avalanche went by without a goal either way, though the puck spent most of its time in the Colorado zone.
Just as that penalty went by the wayside, Kobasew drew a penalty, so the Wild were up a man again. Burns almost scored again, but bounced the puck off the near post. They had a couple of other good chances as the penalty expired.
Martin Havlat got tripped by a Colorado player who was holding his stick by the wrong end. Instead of that penalty, the Avs were called again for too many men once more. The Wild had some good chances on their fourth power play, but the Avalanche kill had the better of it.
The period ended with the Wild with thirteen shots on goal to Colorado's six.

The Avalanche came out with a lot of energy, with five shots to none for the Wild.
Boogaard got in a decent little fight where he dominated his opponent,.
The Avalnche energy paid off, tying the game aroud the five minute to go mark.
The Wild responded, bringing their own energy to get several good shots.
Colorado's delay of game put Minnesota back on the power play. The new greensleeves peppered the Avs netminder with three good shots, but nothing went in.
The Avalanche spent the last five minuutes in the Wild zone, turning a giveaway on the Minnesota blue line into 2-1 lead.
Colorado went on the power play in the last minute, but for naught.
2-1 Avs.

The Wild began the third on the dfensive, having to play the frst thirty seconds a man down.
Both teams seem to have been chewed outin the locker rooms by their respective coaching staffs, as players were flying back and forth down the ice.
Th Wild went on the power play again, and Martin Havlat nearly had a goal in the first 20 deconds of the penalty. Minnesota did a great job of working hard in the Colorado zone, but the Av's netminder Anderson was a solid wall in the crease.
The puck spent a couple of minutes going back and forth ineffectually through all three zones until around six minutes remaining in the game when a Colorado defenseman cleared the puck out of the area of play for a delay of game penalty.
The Wild had several good chances and didn't let the Avs clear the zone. Captain Koivu was able to get off a shot on a sharp pass from the point to tie the game at two.
The last minute trickled away with a couple of chances for both teams, but no goals. Shoulder of steel Nick Schultz was checked into the glass in front of the scorer's table and totally demolished it with only a few seconds left.

On to overtime.
The extra five minutes were indecisive, thogh there was a log of back-and-forth between the two teams. Time ran out with no goals, so we went to a shootout.

Koivu, Havlat, and Zidlicky were up, and the Wild shot firt.
Koivu scored.
Backstrom took away the first shot from the Avs.
Havlat lost the puck on his shot... a bit of rust?
The Av's Heduk couldn't get the puck past Backstrom on hsi shot.
Zidlicky had a good chance, but was denied by Armstrong.
Backstrom said no to the last avalanche player

Wild win!

- Kevin Horner