Mikko Koivu tied the game in regulation and scored on Minnesota's first shot in the shootout, sending the Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Darcy Tucker and Kyle Quincey scored second-period goals for the Avalanche, who outshot the Wild 29-13 after the first period. Goalie Craig Anderson had a shaky start and couldn't hold the lead the whole way, letting Koivu's low snap shot get by.
Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves, then stopped all three shots in the shootout, two of them back-handers that missed wide right.
The Avs finished a seven-game trip, the franchise's longest since relocating to Denver in 1995, with a 4-1-2 record.
Brent Burns scored on a first-period power play, and Koivu tied it with 4:51 left in regulation on a simple redirect.
Despite the loss, this has been quite the impressive start for the supposedly rebuilding Avs, one of the NHL's youngest. The 28-year-old Anderson, a career backup getting his first chance at being a regular, is a big part of the early success. He was making a lot of sprawling saves, though, and giving the Wild several opportunities to score in the first and third periods.
The Wild started so slowly that the Avalanche already had an 11-point lead in the Northwest Division, less than three weeks into the season.
Still trying to find their rhythm with coach Todd Richards, the Wild returned to their home ice after an 0-5 trip during which they were outscored 20-10. In this new system of more freedom and stronger forechecking, the Wild have found it difficult to exorcise old stay-at-home habits from former coach Jacques Lemaire's regime.
The Wild weren't just beat up on the scoreboard during their brutal trip. They had trouble staying healthy, too. Martin Havlat returned, however, from a two-game absence because of a strained groin muscle and the Wild also welcomed right wing Chuck Kobasew to the lineup. Kobasew was acquired in a trade with Boston on Sunday.
No matter what the final score was, fans who stayed for the end found plenty of entertainment. There was a fight between Wild heavyweight Derek Boogaard and the Avalanche's David Koci, with Boogaard holding his clenched fists close to his face in classic boxing style and taking down Koci with relative ease.
Then there was a check by Avs forward David Jones on Wild defenseman Nick Schultz so hard along the boards at mid-ice that the glass panel shattered and sent shards onto the table where the scorers and public address announcer sit between the penalty boxes. The stoppage came in the final seconds of the third period.
NOTES: Anderson tied the franchise record for most starts in net to start a season, with nine. He matched Mario Gosselin, from the 1987-88 Quebec Nordiques. ... The Wild picked Koivu as their permanent captain this season, ending their past practice of assigning the honor each month. They will now rotate alternate captains instead, choosing from a group of three forwards (Andrew Brunette, Havlat and Owen Nolan) and three defensemen (Kim Johnsson, Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon). ... Avalanche LW Cody McLeod took an inadvertent stick to the face on Quincey's goal and did not return.