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Avs aim for seventh straight against Wild

by Brian Compton
WILD (26-23-4) at AVALANCHE (30-15-6)

Last 10: Minnesota 6-3-1; Colorado 7-3-0.

Season Series: This is the last of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, and Minnesota has won four of the first five. After dropping four in a row, Colorado earned a 4-3 victory against the Wild on Dec. 21 at the Xcel Energy Center.

Big Story: Despite being outshot on a regular basis, the Avalanche continue to find ways to win games. They enter Thursday's action with a six-game winning streak and seven victories in their last 10 games.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota continued its impressive run on home ice Wednesday night, as Antti Miettinen scored twice in the first period in a 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings. With the victory, the Wild improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven games in Minnesota.

"Now that we're moving, things are opening up," Miettinen said.

Avalanche: Colorado made it six in a row on Sunday, when Craig Anderson stopped all 27 shots he faced for his fifth shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche reached 30 wins in 51 games, the quickest the club has reached the 30-win plateau since the 2000-01 Stanley Cup championship season, when they did it in 47 games.

"When my job looks easy, it's because the guys are doing their job in front of me," Anderson said. "They're blocking shots, they're making plays. We're playing great hockey as a team."

Who's Hot: Miettinen has three two-goal games for the Wild in the last seven contests. … Anderson has won all six games during Colorado's streak and has allowed only two goals in the last four games, while Chris Stewart has goals in four of his last five.

Injury Report: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom is suffering from back problems and was forced to sit on Wednesday. Forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) and Chuck Kobasew (MCL, ACL) and defenseman Clayton Stoner (groin) are out. … Adam Foote (ankle), Milan Hejduk (knee), Matt Hendricks (ankle), David Jones (knee), Ruslan Salei (back), Marek Svatos (chest) and Ryan Wilson (concussion) are all out for the Avalanche.

Stat Pack: The Wild are 24-6-6 in its last 36 games at Xcel Energy Center dating to Feb. 19, 2009.

Puck Drop: "We just have to keep rolling. It's going well right now, but we can't get complacent. Guys are stepping up in different ways and playing their roles, and (goalie Craig Anderson) is playing solid.

"We're having a lot of fun in the room, but we're not too loose or overconfident. We're playing a complete game, and when we do that, we get results." -- Avs forward T.J. Galiardi
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