ST. PAUL, Minn., April 10 (UPI) -- Joe Sakic
scored 11:11 into overtime Wednesday, giving Colorado a 3-2 win over Minnesota in the opener of their playoff series.
Ruslan Salei fired a slap shot from the left point that deflected off defenseman Martin Skoula and right to Sakic. He promptly slammed a backhander past Niklas Backstrom to end the first overtime game of the NHL playoffs.
Colorado also got goals from Kurt Sauer and Ryan Smyth. Jose Thoedore made 28 saves. The Avalanche, however, let a two-goal lead get away in the third period.
Mikko Koivu and Todd Fedoruk scored for Minnesota.
The second game of the Western Conference quarterfinal series will be played in Minnesota Friday.
This was the third straight playoff game between these teams that wound up in overtime. The scores of all three games have been 3-2, with Minnesota winning the other two.
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