Joe Sakic netted the first goal in a matchup that's seen more than 100 games since the inaugural meeting on Nov. 7, 2000 when the Colorado Avalanche shut out the expansion Minnesota Wild 2-0 in Denver.
The Avalanche went on to win its second Stanley Cup that year, but the banner wasn't the only legacy to emerge from the 2000-01 season. A new rivalry had been born--even if it took the Wild six tries to get in the win column.
In 18 seasons, the Avalanche has a 48-41-10-3 all-time record in the series with the Wild, and some of the iconic moments in the team's history have come against Minnesota. The clubs have met in three playoff series--two of which were in a seven-year span (2008, 2014).
The Avs bested the Wild in six games in the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals, as Sakic scored his eighth and final career postseason overtime goal (an NHL record) in Game 1 to spark Colorado's upset over the Northwest Division champions.
Recently, Colorado has the edge in the matchup. The Avs have won five of the last seven meetings and five of the last eight at the Pepsi Center. The last contest featured perhaps the most critical regular-season game for both teams in 2018-19, one that would shift momentum in the playoff chase.
2018-19 Key Moment
Traveling to Minnesota on March 19, the Avs sat in 10th place in the Western Conference but were in the thick of crowded playoff race. The Wild was the ninth seed, one point ahead of Colorado and one point out of a postseason position. With the game tied at 1-1, Tyson Jost converted on a breakaway in the second period to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer took it from there, contorting and redirecting as necessary to deny every Wild scoring chance in the final frame.
The Avs won the game 3-1 in what was part of a 7-1-2 run to close out the season and secure the eighth seed in the West. The Wild, meanwhile, was left waiting for 2019-20, a season promising five more meetings with their most familiar opponent.
Oct. 5 @ Colorado
Nov. 21 @ Minnesota
Dec. 27 @ Colorado
Feb. 9 @ Minnesota
Mar. 23 @ Minnesota
Milan Hejduk has the most points for any Avalanche player against the Wild, recording 50 (22 goals, 28 assists) in 68 career games from 2000-2013. Joe Sakic has 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 41 career games vs. Minnesota, the fourth-most he recorded against any opponent from 2000-2009. Paul Stastny had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 46 games. Goalie Patrick Roy went 8-1-2 against the Wild, posting a 1.61 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, both stats ranking third best for his career against a single opponent.
Mikko Rantanen has recorded more points against the Wild (five goals, 11 assists) than he's tallied against any other team. Gabriel Landeskog's 25 career points vs. Minnesota (12, goals, 13 assists) and Nathan MacKinnon's 21 (nine goals, 12 assists) are both tied for the second-most they've registered against any opponent. Tyson Jost has four goals in his last six games against the Wild, and the Avs enter the season having won three of the four games where he's found the back of the net.
Mikko Koivu has the most points for any Wild player in history against the Avalanche, with 47 (18 goals, 29 assists) in 70 games. His 47 points are also his most against any opponent. Another consistent presence against Colorado, Zach Parise has 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 36 career meetings with the Avs, including 15 points in his previous 15 games. Eric Staal has also needled the Avs since joining the Wild in 2016, notching 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 Wild-Avs showdowns.