Colorado 4, Minnesota 3

DENVER (AP) -- Brett McLean's shot came from a near impossible
angle and Minnesota goalie Dwayne Roloson had his body and skate
pressed against the near post.

There was no chance the puck could go in. Somehow, it did.

Or did it?

Replays from above showed that the puck didn't go in the front
of the goal. It slipped under the side when someone bumped the net
and knocked it off the moorings. Though everyone in the TV audience
saw the mishap, the replay officials missed it. The goal stood,
leaving the Wild infuriated after the Colorado Avalanche's 4-3
victory Thursday night.

"If I'm paying those guys' salaries, I don't want them in
there," Minnesota center Wes Walz said. "It's a joke. Why do we
even have replay officials if they're not going to call that?"

Marek Svatos scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period
and Peter Budaj made some big saves in the final two periods for
his first win since Nov. 18. Antti Laaksonen and Andrew Brunette
also scored for Colorado, which won for the second time in six
games despite failing to score on its power play (0-for-7) for the
first time in nine games.

But it was McLean's goal that garnered most of the postgame

"Everybody talked about it. I guess it wasn't a goal," Avs
coach Joel Quenneville said. "We caught a break. We have had a
couple against us this year, too."

So have the Wild. This one was just too much to take.

"On a goal like that, they should take a look at it even more
precisely," Minnesota forward Marian Gaborik said. "If they
hadn't got that goal it would have been a whole different game."

Minnesota had plenty of good scoring chances after a sluggish
start -- one shot in the game's first 11 minutes -- but couldn't get
anything past Budaj after getting its third goal midway through the
second period.

Andrei Zyuzin had a goal and an assist, and Brent Burns and
Mikko Koivu also scored for Minnesota, 1-9-2-0 all-time in Denver
during the regular season.

"That's the way it is," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We
have to accept everything that is done without any complaints.
That's the way it is, but it is a disgrace."

Colorado led by one after the teams combined for five goals in
the final seven minutes of the first period, then the Wild tied it
on Koivu's redirect of a shot by Zyuzin midway through the second.
Svatos put the Avalanche ahead for good 36 seconds into the third
period, one-timing Joe Sakic's pass from behind the net for his
team-leading 18th of the season.

Of course, getting game-winners is nothing new for Svatos. He
had a pair in the playoffs two years ago and already has seven this
season, a team record.

"There's no secret. When it's a tie game, I'm trying to score a
goal," Svatos said. "I did a few times. It's a great feeling to
be in the right time at the right spot."

Budaj was, too.

Making his first start since Dec. 4, the rookie made some
spectacular saves in the second period, including a sprawling stop
on Burns' breakaway and another while sitting on the ice. Budaj
stopped 27 shots, including three tough chances after Svatos' goal.

"I thought the story of the game tonight was how well he
played, especially on the three glorious opportunities they had in
the third off of turnovers deep," Quenneville said. "It was nice
to see him respond to the opportunity."

It looked to be a defensive struggle in the early going, neither
team getting good scoring chances. Then goals started flying in
from all angles.

The flurry started with just over seven minutes left in the
first period, when Laaksonen chased down his own shot from the left
circle and flicked in the puck after it squeezed through Roloson's
pads. Brunette made it 2-0 less than two minutes later, redirecting
a shot from Rob Blake.

Burns got Minnesota's first goal on long shot through traffic
with just under four minutes left, then McLean scored his disputed
goal 68 seconds later to give Colorado its league-leading 50th goal
in the first period this season.

Zyuzin scored with 20 seconds left in the first, one-timing
Alexandre Daigle's pass from the corner on a power play to cut
Colorado's lead to 3-2. But the way the Wild see it, that should
have been the tying goal had the replay officials been paying

"It cost us the game, basically," Gaborik said.

Game notes
Colorado's Bob Boughner played in his 599th game and Milan
Hejduk played in No. 499. ... The teams play again Friday night in
Minnesota. ... The Wild have killed off 23 straight penalties.