St. Paul, MN – Matt Duchene tied the game in the third period and scored in the shootout, as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Minnesota Wild, 4-3, at Xcel Energy Center.
Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned away a backhander from Zach Parise to begin the penalty-shot tiebreaker. Birthday boy Milan Hejduk, who netted a power-play goal in the second period for his 800th career point, used the same move to beat Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu, like Parise, opted for a backhander and he was also denied by the veteran Giguere. Duchene then ripped a wrister past Backstrom's blocker to halt Colorado's three-game slide.
Giguere, making his second start of the season, made 26 saves.
Hejduk, who turned 37 on Thursday, put Colorado up 2-1, but the Wild moved ahead in the third period.
Mike Rupp banged away at the side of the net for the equalizer at 2:30, and Koivu, unlike in the shootout, was able to roof a backhander at 11:56.
Duchene, however, responded 46 seconds later as his pass from behind the net caromed in off a Wild player.
"We faced some adversity tonight. We were up 2-1 in the third, they came back and made it 3-2 and we found a way to get two points. It's the type of effort you need on the road," Giguere said.
Parise knows his club has to do a better job protecting a third-period lead.
"We worked hard in the third and got ourselves back in the game and took the lead at one point, but you've got to close those out," he said.
Aaron Palushaj staked the Avalanche to a 1-0 lead at the 2:38 mark of the second period. Claimed off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 5, Palushaj scored from the slot off a pass from David Jones.
The Wild tied it on Parise's wraparound tally at 8:52, but the Avalanche retook the lead when Hejduk buried a rebound with 2:34 remaining.
Colorado forward P.A. Parenteau played in his 200th NHL game ... Backstrom finished with 29 saves.