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Wild Pulls Off Game 7 Shocker

April 23, 2003|From Associated Press

The Minnesota Wild was hoping only to win one game against the Colorado Avalanche. That thinking was a little shortsighted.

Andrew Brunette scored 3:25 into overtime and Manny Fernandez stopped 43 shots as the Minnesota Wild won its first playoff series with a 3-2 victory over Colorado in Game 7 at Denver on Tuesday night.

"Every player put heart and soul into it," said Marian Gaborik, who scored Minnesota's second goal. "The feeling is something that I don't have words for right now. I don't know. It's just unbelievable."

The Wild came back from a 3-1 deficit in games, winning twice in Denver.

Brunette wound up with the puck after Sergei Zholtok lost it just inside Colorado's blue line. Brunette skated in, held the puck, then flipped a backhander over Patrick Roy for the winner.

Brunette threw his stick in the air and skated to the sideboards, where he was mobbed by teammates. Roy sat on his knees in the crease after the goal.

The Wild will face Vancouver in a second-round Western Conference series.

Colorado was knocked out in the first round for the first time since losing to Edmonton in seven games in 1998 -- the last time the Avalanche lost a series after blowing a 3-1 lead.

Joe Sakic put Colorado up, 2-1, with 6:45 left in regulation, one-timing a pass from Alex Tanguay on a power play for his sixth goal of the series.

Anticipating a victory, the crowd was still cheering strongly when Gaborik tied it on a power play with 4:28 left. Gaborik knocked in a rebound after Roy stopped Brunette from the right circle.

"We didn't put them away in Game 5 and this is what happens," Sakic said.

Philadelphia 6, Toronto 1 -- With their season on the line and memories of recent failures on their minds, the Flyers came through with their most dominant performance in Game 7.

Mark Recchi scored twice and Justin Williams had a goal and two assists, leading the Flyers to a series-clinching rout of the Maple Leafs in Philadelphia.

"We needed our best game and we got it," Flyer Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I've never seen a team in such a stressful situation act so calm."

The Flyers, advancing to the second round for the first time in three years, will play Ottawa in the Eastern Conference semifinals, starting Friday. The Senators beat the Flyers in five games in the first round last year, holding them to a record-low two goals.

Simon Gagne and Keith Primeau also scored for Philadelphia, which had lost in the opening round four of the last five years.

Vancouver 4, St. Louis 1 -- Trevor Linden had a goal and an assist as the Canucks completed their comeback from a 3-1 series deficit to knock off the Blues in Game 7 of the Western Conference series at Vancouver, Canada.

Linden, held pointless through the first six games, set up Brendan Morrison's winning goal in the second period and rounded out the scoring with a short-handed goal 28 seconds into the third period.

Henrik Sedin and Markus Naslund also scored for the Canucks, who advanced to the second round for the first time in eight years.

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