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Updated: November 27th, 2010 11:03pm
Mile-high mess: Avalanche hands Wild a 7-4 loss in Denver

Mile-high mess: Avalanche hands Wild a 7-4 loss in Denver

by Jess Myers
1500ESPN.com
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After he got a home win on Friday afternoon, some Minnesota Wild fans thought it would be nice for goalie Jose Theodore to get to play against his former team, the Colorado Avalanche. But none of those fans wanted to see it happen this way.

Theodore indeed saw some mop-up duty Saturday night in Denver, but only after starting goalie Niklas Backstrom surrendered a touchdown and the extra point in Colorado's 7-4 win.

The silver lining of two goals by Kyle Brodziak was clearly overshadowed by the dark clouds of another opponent's offensive outburst. The Wild is now 1-3-0 in its last four games, and has surrendered 18 goals in that trio of losses.

"(Backstrom) wasn't sharp and the players in front didn't help him," Wild coach Todd Richards told reporters after the game, adding that he would consult with goalie coach Bob Mason before deciding which goalie would start the next game.

On Saturday the trouble started early, as Paul Stastny scored just 61 seconds into the game to give the Avalanche its first lead. The Wild rallied on goals by Antti Miettinen and Matt Cullen to lead 2-1 after 20 minutes. And then the roof fell in.

Colorado scored four unanswered in the second period (two of them by Greg Mauldin, building a 5-2 lead from which the Wild would not recover. Backstrom gave up his career-high seventh goal in the third period, prompting Richards to put Theodore back between the pipes for the last half-period. Backstrom had 31 saves in the loss, while Theodore stopped both of the Avalanche shots he faced.

"We gave up 20 shots in the second period," Richards said. "That's way too many shots and way too many opportunities."

Mauldin had three points in his NHL career entering Saturday's game. His two goals and two assists more than doubled his career totals.

The Wild's western swing continues after a Sunday off. The team plays another Northwest Division game, this time in Calgary, on Monday.

Jess Myers covers the Wild and college hockey for 1500ESPN.com. He is a member of the editorial advisory board for USA Hockey Magazine.
Email Jess | @JessRMyers
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