Smith ends long scoring drought as Wild edges Avalanche 4-3

Minnesota has won nine of its past 12 road games since ending an 11-game road winless streak Jan. 11. The Wild are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games. Adam Hall, Todd White and Mikko Koivu also scored for the Wild. Mark Parrish had two assists. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom made his 10th straight start filling in for the injured Manny Fernandez, who’s out with a left knee sprain.

Ken Klee and Brad Richardson scored 2:28 apart to pull the Avalanche to within a goal, but Koivu restored a two-goal lead at the 17:46 mark of the third. Marek Svatos scored 29 seconds later after Colorado pulled goalie Peter Budaj to make it 4-3.

The Avalanche pulled Budaj again with 43 seconds left, but couldn’t score. Budaj finished with 19 saves.

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Smith and White scored 1:19 apart in the second to give the Wild a 3-0 lead.

Smith hadn’t scored since Feb. 13, 2004, when he was with Nashville. He backhanded a shot over Budaj’s shoulder.

Hall scored his second goal since the Wild acquired him from the New York Rangers for Pascal Dupuis on Feb. 9.

Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny each extended their points streaks to 10 games with assists. Stastny’s streak is the longest by an Avalanche rookie since the team moved to Denver in 1995.

Stastny finished with two assists. Andrew Brunette also had two assists for Colorado.