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Avs Reap Benefits of Solid Two-Way Game; Beat Wild, 4-1

Posted By Donovan Wilson On Jan 15 2011 @ 8:15 am In Colorado Avalanche | No Comments

(St. Paul, Minnesota) — Some life was injected into the Colorado Avalanche on the road last night at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota, as they defeated the Minnesota Wild, 4-1.

Lately, the Avs have struggled to display the high-powered offense that had them atop the Northwest Division some four weeks ago… but against the Wild they returned to form with goals from Kevin Porter, Milan Hejduk, Tom Fleischmann, and Ryan Wilson to earn their third victory in their last eight games.

The Avalanche played a complete game last night, executing the style Joe Sacco has been trying to get them to play with consistency this season – a solid two-way game.  A mid-range snapshot by Porter got the Avs off to the start they needed at 8:55 of the first period. Less than nine minutes later Hejduk gave them a 2-0 cushion with his 14th goal of the season on the power play at 17:34.

The high Colorado rode at the beginning of the second period was quickly tempered when forward Ryan O’Reilly lost his balance and went crashing into the boards. The Avs’ best two way player to date was removed from the ice on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution.

“He was moving and it sounds like he’s OK,” Craig Anderson said. “You’ve got to find a way to pick him up. It was our job and our duty to win the game for him.”

The Avs did just that for their fallen teammate – extending the lead to 3-0 late in the period on Fleischmann’s 12th goal of the season. A resurgent Anderson delivered one of his strongest games of the season – making 32 saves and capturing star of the game honors.

Frustrated Wild fans showered the home team with boos at the end of the second period. The once tough to beat at home Minnesota is now 3-6-1 in their last 10 home games.

Anderson lost his shutout in the third period when Andrew Brunette scored his 10th goal of the season at 4:14. From that point on the Avs’ conforming to a new and improved defensive style of play was on display as they shut down the Wild; Wilson’s empty net goal at 19:10 sealed the victory for Colorado.

The Avs proved last night they can adjust and conquer adversity and a physical game.  The slumping Wild played a rugged game, out hitting the Avs but losing the battles in the corners.  The Avs next play at home Tuesday night against the red hot Vancouver Canucks who have won 14 of their last 17 games.

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