Goalie Theodore helps Avs to 4-2 win

>DENVER (AP) – Sometimes the best moves are the ones that aren’t made.

The Colorado Avalanche could’ve severed ties with goalie Jose Theodore last offseason by buying him out of the final year of his contract. But the Avalanche kept him around.

Good thing.

Theodore helped Colorado steal a first-round series against Minnesota that the Avalanche clinched Saturday night with a 2-1 win in Game 6.

The Avalanche, who captured the series 4-2, are headed to the second round of the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 trips to the postseason since relocating to Denver. They’re still waiting to find out their opponent in the next round.

Theodore was simply sensational in net for the Avalanche, stopping 188 shots in the series, some were of the did-he-just do-that? variety.

“He’s the reason why I’m standing here now,” Ian Laperriere said. “He’s been playing unbelievable for us. If he can play better than this, we’re all happy about that.”

Under a different scenario, Theodore could’ve been elsewhere right now – had the team taken close to a $4 million salary-cap hit and bought out his contract last summer.

The Avalanche had plenty of motive for the move since Theodore was coming off a lackluster 2006-07 season in which backup Peter Budaj had replaced him in net.

However, the Avalanche appreciated his attitude as Theodore never pouted over his demotion, only worked harder to improve. The team also thought Theodore could return to the form that made him the Hart Trophy winner as the league’s MVP in 2002.

Theodore believed that as well.

“You look at yourself in the mirror. You say, ‘You do have the chance to show everybody that you’re a goalie that can make a difference,’ ” he said.