ST. PAUL, Minn. Joe Sakic added another line to his amazing playoff resume.
Sakic tipped in a shot by Ruslan Salei from the point midway through the first overtime period, his eighth career playoff goal in extra time, to send the Colorado Avalanche past the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The goal came at 11:11 of OT and gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in this first-round series. Game 2 is at Minnesota on Friday.
Colorado welcomed Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote back in February to reunite that outstanding core with Sakic for maybe their last crack together at another title. The Avalanche got strong goaltending by Jose Theodore down the stretch and entered the playoffs poised, experienced and perhaps even the favorite in this matchup.
The division-champion Wild, who won the season series 5-2-1, were dealt a devastating setback this week when shutdown defenseman Nick Schultz needed an appendectomy. He was to be a critical check against Colorado's potent, slick-passing attack.
The Wild did just that four years ago, when they rallied from a 3-1 deficit and stunned the NHL by beating the Avalanche in the first round on their way to the Western Conference finals.
Kurt Sauer, who scored only once this season, got the first goal for Colorado. Ryan Smyth followed with a power-play deflection, and the Avalanche were up 2-0 in the second period with only seven shots on net at that point.In Wednesday's other NHL playoff openers:
RANGERS 4, DEVILS 1: At Newark, N.J. , in his first postseason game against the team he grew up with, Scott Gomez assisted on three of the New York Rangers' goals in a series-opening win over New Jersey.Ryan Callahan surprised Devils goalie Martin Brodeur with a goal-scoring swoop around the net in the third period, and the Rangers wrested away home-ice advantage from New Jersey. Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery and Nigel Dawes also scored for the Rangers, who went 7-0-1 against New Jersey in the regular season.
PENGUINS 4, SENATORS 0: At Pittsburgh, Gary Roberts and Petr Sykora scored in the first period and the favored Penguins, determined not to duplicate their awful postseason opener of a year ago, rode Marc-Andre Fleury's goaltending after that to a victory over Ottawa in the Eastern Conference playoffs.Roberts had two goals, only one fewer than he had during an injury-interrupted season, and Evgeni Malkin the NHL's No. 2 scorer had a goal and two assists.
FLAMES 3, SHARKS 2: At San Jose, Calif., Stephane Yelle scored two goals, Miikka Kiprusoff made 37 saves and the seventh-seeded Flames stunned the NHL's second-best regular season team in their first-round opener.