ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild are starting to make believers out of their opponents.
The Colorado Avalanche are the latest team to discover that the Wild aren't the same team that's been one of the worst in the NHL the past two seasons.
The Wild overcame a rough first period in which they were outshot 14-1 Tuesday night to beat the Avalanche 3-2 on an overtime goal by Lubomir Sekeras. With the win, the third-year franchise has a league-best 16 points.
"They're definitely a good hockey club," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "They work hard and they deserve to be where they are."
Off to its best start in franchise history at 7-1-2, the Wild's victory was their biggest of the young season. On Sunday, they rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-3 tie at Colorado.
"We weren't happy with the game that we played over there, we wanted more than just a tie, and we came here and basically took it to them," said Manny Fernandez, who made 21 saves.
In the extra period, Sekeras took a backhanded pass from Sergei Zholtok in front of the net and wristed the puck past David Aebischer at 3:43.
"(The Avalanche) are a very good club," Zholtok said. "They come at you all three periods. It was nice to get the two points."
They were two points the Avalanche thought should've been theirs.
"They're playing better than everyone expected, but we should've gotten four points in these two games," Peter Forsberg said.
Joe Sakic scored both goals for Colorado, with Forsberg assisting. Aebischer, starting in place of a resting Patrick Roy, made 20 saves, but still fell to 0-2-0.
The Avalanche shut down Minnesota's offense in the first period. Colorado had three power-play opportunities in the period, but converted only once. Skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, Sakic gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 10:58 of the first period with his fourth goal.
"We came out to play good in the first, but the second was just brutal," Forsberg said.
Minnesota outshot Colorado 22-9 the rest of the way.
"We had probably our best period of the young season in the first," Hartley said. "But we took four minors in the second, sat on our heels and let them come at us."
Marian Gaborik made it 1-all with his sixth goal in the second, and Zholtok made it 2-1 in the third.
Having lost only to Stanley Cup champions Detroit, teams are starting to respect the Wild.
"They're a difficult team. They skate, they keep working and they don't give up," Sakic said. "I don't know why anybody's surprised because they've got talent and they work hard."
Notes: The Wild notched only their second win against Colorado, which leads the all-time series 9-2-1. ... Roy sat out for only the second time this season. ... Minnesota's first shot came with 42 seconds left in the first period. ... Wild D Brad Bombardir was a late scratch. He was hit in his right eye by a flying puck on Sunday. Lemaire said the Wild captain was having trouble seeing out of the corner of the eye before the game. He expects Bombardir to play in Minnesota's next game Thursday at San Jose.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.