ST. PAUL, Minn.--The Colorado Avalanche is on its second long road trip of the season, and like the first, the results have been positive.
Colorado ends a five-game trip tonight at the Minnesota Wild and looks to improve on its 3-1-0 record after playing the previous four contests in Western Canadian cities. The Avalanche has defeated the Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, while the Edmonton Oilers have been the only club to pull out a victory against the Avs in the last nine days.
"I think if you told us at the start that we would be 3-1 going into the last game, we would take it all day," said defenseman Erik Johnson. "It would be real nice to be 4-1 on this five-game swing here."
The Avalanche is on one of its longest stretches away from home this year, with its last outing at Pepsi Center coming on Nov. 9 in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. After this evening, Colorado plays three of its next four at home, starting on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The matchup against the Wild is the second of five meetings between the division rivals this season and the first of three at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota owns an 8-11-2 record on the campaign but has played better as of late with points in each of its last three games (2-0-1).
"We understand there is a big difference going 4-1 or 3-2. We want to make the most out of this (road trip)," said forward Nazem Kadri. "You can't take this team lightly. We know they're going to work. They have great work ethic, and we're going to have to match that if we want to have a chance to win."
Playing a division foe also adds fuel to the Avs' motivation to head home with one more win in their bags. Colorado won the first meeting of the year 4-2 on Oct. 4, but the series is tighter in Minnesota where the Avalanche owns a 22-20-9 all-time record.
"It's always a tough building to play in, tough opponent, and any team within your division, they're never easy games," said Johnson, who is from nearby Bloomington. "We're excited to hopefully close out the road trip on a winning note and get home. It's been good so far."
Video: Erik Johnson before Avalanche at Wild
This is Colorado's second of three road trips this season of five or more games. The Avs finished with a 4-1-1 record on a six-city tour from Oct. 14-25, though they did return home for three days between their fifth and sixth contest.
Overall this is just the second time in franchise history that the club will have three road trips of at least five games (also 1999-00). The Avalanche will also be away from Pepsi Center from Feb. 1-9 with games in Philadelphia, Buffalo, Ottawa, Columbus and Minnesota.
The Avs currently sport a 7-4-1 record after 12 road games, with their 15 points gained as the away team tied for the fifth most in the NHL.
ORDER OF DOUBLE DOUBLES
Andre Burakovsky is coming off his third, two-goal performance of the year and second in three games.
As a team, Colorado has received a multi-goal outing from one of its players in each of the last six contests. It is the first time that the Avs have achieved such a feat since moving to Denver in 1995. The franchise record for consecutive games with at least one player posting a two-plus-goal performance is seven, set by the Quebec Nordiques from Nov. 24-Dec. 10, 1983.
In addition to Burakovsky's two goals on Tuesday in Calgary and last Thursday in Edmonton, Nathan MacKinnon tallied twice on Nov. 12 at Winnipeg and on Saturday in Vancouver. Joonas Donskoi registered a hat trick on Nov. 7 against Nashville, and Cale Makar registered two markers on Nov. 9 versus Columbus.
For Burakovsky, he has registered multi-point outings in each of the last three games (five goals, one assist), setting a new career high.
Forward Tyson Jost is close to returning from an upper-body injury, but he won't be in the lineup in Minnesota. Jost has missed the past two games after getting hurt last Thursday in Edmonton.
Mikko Rantanen continues to skate back in Denver as he recovers from a lower-body injury.
Gabriel Landeskog and Colin Wilson have not returned to the ice after both suffered separate lower-body injuries.
Matt Calvert left the team's road trip early and is in Denver recovering after taking a puck to the head on Saturday at the Vancouver Canucks.