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Colorado Hosts Minnesota Before NHL All-Star Break

It is the third of four meetings between the clubs this season

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche (22-19-8) takes the ice at Pepsi Center for the last time before the 2019 NHL All-Star Break on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. MT against the Minnesota Wild (25-21-3).

It is the third of four meetings between the two clubs in 2018-19 and the final one in the Mile High City during the regular season. The Avalanche has a 1-1-0 record against the Central Division-rival Wild this year, with Mikko Rantanen leading the team in scoring with three points (one goal, two assists) in those two contests.

Coming into the Wednesday night tilt, Colorado holds a 47-40-13 all-time record against Minnesota since the 1995-96 season.

After the game, the Avs will head into the all-star break and their league-mandated bye week. They won't return to action until a Feb. 2 contest against the Vancouver Canucks at Pepsi Center.

Last Time Out

The Avalanche fell 4-1 to the Nashville Predators in an afternoon affair in Denver on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Alexander Kerfoot tallied his ninth goal of the season, while Samuel Girard contributed the assist. Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves, and the Avs successfully killed all three Nashville power plays they faced. Colorado outshot its opponent for the fourth-straight game, this time by a 36-27 margin.

The Minnesota Wild took down the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 at T-Mobile Arena on Monday afternoon. Marcus Foligno, Eric Staal, Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu each tallied a goal in the victory, and Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk made 30 stops in the winning effort.

Last Time They Met

Minnesota took a 3-2 win against the Avs on Oct. 27 at Xcel Energy Center after three consecutive goals from Mikael Granlund, Eric Staal and Jonas Brodin. Mark Barberio and Gabriel Landeskog were the goal scorers for the Avs, while Tyson Barrie, Vladislav Kamanev and Mikko Rantanen each registered a helper. The Avalanche outshot the Wild 32-28 in the contest as Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves between the pipes for Colorado. Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 shots for Minnesota.

What To Watch

When It Rains, It Pours

Dating back to Jan. 6, 2018, the Avs have won four of the last five matchups against Minnesota. In those victories, Colorado has averaged 5.75 goals per game, including scoring seven goals in two separate contests. The Avalanche has won its last three home games against the Wild, outscoring its division foe by an 18-4 margin in that time.

The Killers

In its last five contests, Colorado's penalty-killing unit has allowed just one goal in 15 short-handed instances. The team's 93.3-percent success rate is tied for second in the league over that stretch (since Jan. 12).

Players To Watch

Colorado: Right Wing Mikko Rantanen

The Nousiainen, Finland, native has tallied points in five consecutive matchups against Minnesota coming into Wednesday's clash. Over those games, the first-time NHL All-Star has recorded 11 points (three goals, eight assists) against the Wild. Rantanen, who ranks tied for second in the league in scoring with 73 points (23 goals, 50 assists), will be joined at the league's mid-season classic by linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.

Minnesota: Center Eric Staal

The Minnesota captain tallied a multi-point outing in his last appearance against Colorado with a goal and an assist in the Oct. 27 win at Xcel Energy Center. Over his last five games, the Thunder Bay, Ontario, native has registered two markers and four helpers. He now has 955 career points (410 goals, 545 assists) in 1,141 NHL games.

The Details

Wednesday's clash between the Avalanche and Wild is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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