Wild-Avalanche Minnesota Hands Colorado Their Fifth Straight Loss in Denver

Nick MaxsonCorrespondent INovember 7, 2008

Minnesota improved to 8-3-1 to stay even with the Calgary Flames for first place in the Northwest Division with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night in Denver.

Colorado dropped to 5-8-0 even after heavily outshooting the Wild 36-20 in the game. With this most recent loss, the Avs have now suffered five straight defeats.

Pierre Marc-Bouchard, Benoit Pouliot, and former Avalanche Andrew Brunette tallied for the Wild.  Darcy Tucker scored the lone goal for the Avalanche in the second period.

Goaltender Niklas Backstrom was outstanding in net for the Wild, making 35 saves on the night, while the Avalanche failed to respond to the 3-0 lead Minnesota built.

Backstrom improved to 8-2-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .931 save percentage on the season, and is one of four Wild players who have been placed on the 2009 All-Star Game Ballot.

Along with Backstrom, defenseman Brent Burns, Marian Gaborik, and Mikko Koivu represent Minnesota on the All-Star Ballot.

Gaborik, who has only appeared in two games this season due to injury, still managed to make the ballot. Burns was recently sent home from the current Minnesota road trip, to seek rest and treatment for a recent upper-body injury he received prior to a game against Phoenix.

Meanwhile, for the Avalanche, frustration has begun to accumulate over the team's performance so far this season.

The Avalanche, with 10 points on the season, are tied with Phoenix, Dallas, and Los Angeles for the lowest point total in the Western Conference so far this season.

Adding to the frustration, Colorado is only 3-4 at home and 2-4 on the road. The Avalanche have also given up 45 goals this season, which is tied for third-most in the Western Conference, while only scoring 38 goals.

Colorado will hope to end its loosing streak Saturday, against Nashville at home.

Minnesota will wrap up its four-game road trip on Saturday, as well as they travel to Vancouver to face the 8-6 Canucks, who are 4-2 at General Motors Place this season.