ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Minnesota hockey fans waited 11 years to see a playoff game. They finally got to see a goal but may have to wait another year to see a win.
Patrick Roy came within 2:40 of his second straight shutout and Joe Sakic scored twice as the Colorado Avalanche took a commanding three games to one lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild's first goal since the final minute of Game Two energized another sellout crowd at the Xcel Energy Center, but the momentum lasted all of 81 seconds.
With 79 seconds remaining, Sakic set up Riku Hahl, whose shot was stopped by goaltender Manny Fernandez. But Dan Hinote put in the rebound to restore Colorado's two-goal lead.
Colorado can wrap up the series at home on Saturday afternoon. The Avalanche have lost their last two games when able to eliminate an opponent.
"I'm pretty sure everyone on this team knows what's happened the last couple of years," Sakic said. "We've got a chance to go home and put it away, and we have to find a way to get it done."
"We have to have a good rest now and jump back and settle (down), so we can try to battle as hard as we can," Gaborik said. "We need to generate some offense, be focused and give a 100 percent effort in order to get those (scoring) chances."
Home-ice advantage has meant less in this series than scoring first. While the home team has won just once, the team scoring first has taken all four games.
"Everyone's been talking about the importance of that first goal, especially against this team, because they play so well with the lead," Roy said. "Again, tonight it was a key."
Sakic got the all-important first goal at 6:10 of the opening period. Taken down by defenseman Lubomir Sekeras in the left faceoff circle, Sakic got off a wrister while falling that beat goaltender Dwayne Roloson. A moment earlier, Roloson had his stick knocked away by Colorado's Bates Battaglia.
"The first one kind of surprised me," Sakic said. "I was falling when I shot it and obviously, it surprised Roloson."
Just 1:54 later on a power play, Sakic wristed a shot from the top of the slot along the ice and inside the left goalpost for his 69th career playoff goal. That total is 22 more than the entire Wild roster.
"The second one, I just tried to get it away quick," Sakic said.
Roloson was pulled just over a minute later after allowing two goals on four shots. He had been battling a groin injury.
"Rolly didn't feel that good before (the game), but he was OK to go," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "And when I saw the two goals, I checked out with the coaching staff and we were on the same page. I tried to change the game, too."
He didn't. While Manny Fernandez came up with a handful of stellar saves, the Wild were frustrated by Roy.
With 8:51 to go in the first period, Roy got the nob of his stick on a short wrist shot by Richard Park, sending it off the left goalpost. He also made a right pad stop on a rebound chance by Wes Walz with 1:42 left in the period.
"We saw Patty's performance in the net, we saw Joe offensively. You see the big guys when you need them the most," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "Patty's the main reason we held them to one goal. ... Fortunately, Patty made the saves when he had to and Joe was able to capitalize on those chances early."
After scoring two power-play goals in the series opener, the Wild have two in the last three games.
"We've got to get some goals. We've got to get to that Patrick Roy and we've got to get to him in a big way," said Fernandez, who made 16 saves. "It would be nice to win the next game 5-1 or 6-1 and get him back on his heels."