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Avalanche, Wild continue battle for playoff positioning

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Eric Goodman - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Avalanche, Wild continue battle for playoff positioning
Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche
WILD (23-18-7) at AVALANCHE (26-22-2)


Last 10:
Minnesota 3-6-1; Colorado 5-4-1

Season series:
This is the third of six meetings between these Northwest Division clubs. Both previous games this season were played at Minnesota with the Wild earning a 1-0 victory off a Devin Setoguchi goal back on Nov. 17 and the Avs taking the most recent game on Dec. 26 by a 4-2 score. Colorado received goals from four different players the last time it faced the Wild, including a power-play tally from Ryan O'Reilly and the game-winning goal by Gabriel Landeskog.

Big Story:
Both the Wild and Avs play the last game on their respective schedules before the All-Star break and a regulation win by either team would put them into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Minnesota will try to avoid a franchise-record 12th-straight road loss, while Colorado will attempt to improve upon a 10-2-0 home record since Nov. 30. 

Team Scope:

As of Monday, Minnesota sat just one point behind the Avalanche for eighth place in the West despite going 2-6-1 in its last nine games. While the Wild averaged just 1.28 goals a game over those seven losses, they did put up a total of 10 goals in the two wins.

Coach Mike Yeo and company will look for a similar effort to last Saturday's contest, in which Minnesota closed out the game with four unanswered goals to defeat the Dallas Stars 5-2.

"As the game went on we had that feeling that we were just going to keep getting better," Yeo said. "It was a lively bench. Everybody was engaged in that game and everybody was going out, doing things the same way and the right way."

Avalanche: Colorado will return home after splitting a brief weekend trip to California. The Avs defeated the Kings on Saturday but lost 3-2 to Anaheim on Sunday, despite outshooting the Ducks 45-18.

The Avalanche made a valiant late-game effort to rally, but their two third-period goals weren't enough to dig out of the 3-0 hole they dug themselves due to shorthanded, power-play and regulation tallies by the Ducks.

"We deserved better tonight," goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere told NHL.com following Sunday's loss. "But we played a pretty good road game. We controlled the play for most of the game and had a couple of breakdowns that they capitalized on. These things happen and key for us is to move on."

Who's Hot: Giguere is 3-1-1 in his last five starts, with a 2.20 goals-against average over that span. … On Saturday, Wild winger Dany Heatley recorded his first multi-point game since the Dec. 26 win against Colorado by notching a goal and two assists in the victory over Dallas. He has 17 points (4g, 13a) in 16 career games vs. the Avs.

Injury Report:
Minnesota will be without captain Mikko Koivu (upper body) and forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse (concussions). … For Colorado, winger Matt Duchene will remain out as he recovers from a knee injury that has sidelined him since Dec. 29.
Stat Pack:
If Minnesota is to break free of its road woes, then Colorado appears to be the right place to do it. The Wild are 8-1-2 in their last 11 visits to Pepsi Center.

Puck Drop:
Despite the cold streak on the road, the Wild are well aware that they can get right back into the mix with a few wins over fellow playoff competitors like the Avalanche.

"It's a team that we are right with in the playoff race, and it's a huge game," Minnesota's Matt Cullen told reporters after practice.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 06 '12 MIN 1 at COL 7 J. McGinn
Mar 04 '12 COL 2 at MIN 0 J. McGinn
Feb 02 '12 MIN 1 at COL 0 G. Zanon
Jan 24 '12 MIN 3 at COL 2 C. McMillan
Dec 26 '11 COL 4 at MIN 2 J. Hejda
Nov 17 '11 COL 0 at MIN 1 D. Setoguchi
D. Heatley49151934+71443
M. Koivu4192433+91411
M. Cullen48111627-31820
K. Brodziak49131326-64340
P. Bouchard3791322-11823
C. Clutterbuck4512719+35822
D. Setoguchi3610818-91642
J. Spurgeon4731417+2621
N. Johnson4561016+53101
M. Zidlicky3401111-61800
G. Latendresse16549+62011
D. Powe49459-82601
C. Wellman14257-4001
M. Scandella37336-101011
N. Prosser20066+01800
J. Falk29145+13310
W. Peters27145-42000
G. Zanon26145+0800
C. Stoner37033+74200
B. Bulmer9033+1600
D. McIntyre7112-1200
C. McMillan4112+2201
N. Schultz49022-71800
C. Gillies37022-51000
M. Lundin15022+0200
J. Taffe3022+2000
C. Almond8101-3800
J. Palmer6101-2400
C. Rau2101+1001
J. Ortmeyer6011-2000
B. Staubitz41000-77300
M. Kassian6000+12500
K. Fredheim2000+0200
J. Disalvatore1000+0200
N. Backstrom3013-12-4698732.43.921
J. Harding219-6-3466112.42.925
M. Hackett32-0-02860.85.977
R. O'Reilly50142236-31041
P. Stastny48131730-62051
M. Hejduk51121729-71461
G. Landeskog51101626+123022
M. Duchene39121224-8652
K. Quincey4541822-35231
E. Johnson4511819-101301
D. Jones429716-81822
D. Winnik5151015-113800
R. Wilson3411415+52600
T. Galiardi488614-33702
S. O'Brien4711213-27710
J. McClement496612-102001
J. Hejda504812-162001
C. Kobasew417411-102202
S. Elliott294711+1801
R. O'Byrne51156-23900
C. McLeod44325-211000
K. Porter27325-41500
J. Lindstrom16235-9010
D. Van Der Gulik17145+4200
P. Mueller10314+0211
B. Malone9022+1000
M. Hunwick11011-4200
B. Yip10000+1800
E. Brophey3000+0000
S. Varlamov3014-15-1898773.00.899
J. Giguere2312-8-1475982.15.921