Wild pick up 7th win in dying minutes
Koivu scores late goal to lift Minnesota to 3-2 win over Avalanche
Mikko Koivu scored with 3:04 remaining to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Sunday night.
With both teams stagnant in the final period, Koivu grabbed the puck out of the corner, started like he was going to carry it behind the net and then made a lightning quick move to the short side and simply bulled his way out in front.
He stuffed the puck past a surprised Peter Budaj, lifting the Wild to their seventh win in the first eight games. Minnesota is off to its best start (7-0-1) in franchise history and is the only team in the NHL that has yet to lose a game in regulation.
Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves, and Mark Parrish and Brian Rolston also scored for the Wild.
Andrew Brunette and Tyler Arnason scored for the Avalanche, and Budaj made 29 saves.
Minnesota's struggling power-play unit, which entered the night converting a minuscule 6.9 per cent of its chances, scored twice in the second, but Colorado bounced right back in an action-packed period.
After Parrish and Rolston scored power-play goals just over two minutes apart to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead, Colorado responded by finishing the frame strong.
Arnason got things going with a power-play goal and then Brunette scored on a tip in on the back door to tie the game.
But the Avalanche sorely missed Milan Hejduk, who was out with a back injury, and couldn't quite come up with enough in the end.
Colorado is looking to avoid another slow start, which doomed them last year. The Avalanche began last season 18-18-2, the kind of mediocrity that just doesn't work in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Even a 15-2-2 finish to the season wasn't enough to dig them out of that hole, and they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993-94, becoming the first team in NHL history to record at least 93 points and not qualify for the post-season.
They added Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan to give the team some much-needed toughness, but the results have been mixed early this season. They are 4-3-2 in their first nine games.