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Preview: Avalanche at Wild

Colorado without forwards Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog; Zach Parise may sit for Minnesota

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

AVALANCHE (7-9-0) at WILD (9-6-1)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N+, ALT, NHL.TV

 

Avalanche team scope

Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene took part in the morning skate but will miss his fourth game after sustaining a concussion on Nov. 11. Coach Jared Bednar said he's "optimistic [Duchene's] in next game." Duchene said he's still feeling symptoms but is nearing a return: "There's always temptation [to come back early]," he said. "It's hard for me to sit out; it's hard for me to watch … but with this [injury] I'm not messing around. This is not just my career. It's my life." Forward Gabriel Landeskog missed Colorado's game at the Dallas Stars on Thursday with a lower-body injury and didn't make the trip to Minnesota. "He's getting evaluated," Bednar said. "He's under constant evaluation so we might know something more tomorrow or Monday." Goaltender Calvin Pickard will make his fourth start of the season. He is 3-1-0, including a 1-0 win against Minnesota on Nov. 5. "[Semyon Varlamov's] been playing really well but we feel we have two capable guys," Bednar said. "We've got to find a way to keep both of our guys active here and I think [Pickard's] the right man for the job tonight, especially after the way he played last time against [Minnesota]."

 

Wild team scope

The Minnesota Wild may be without forward Zach Parise. After the morning skate, coach Bruce Boudreau would neither confirm nor deny that Parise may have to sit because of illness. He's played two games after missing six with a foot injury. If Parise can't play, Boudreau said defenseman Nate Prosser might get time playing wing. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk will get his 14th start; he's 7-5-1 and leads the NHL with a 1.48 goal-against average, a .952 save percentage and four shutouts. He had five shutouts last season and a career-high six in 2014-15. "The one thing I've found to help me is just to concentrate on little things that I need to do each game," Dubnyk said. Defensemen Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon will play together again on the top pairing. Suter had been playing with Matt Dumba. "You get the chemistry back," Spurgeon said. "It comes back quick when you're playing with a guy like [Suter]. I just give him the puck and sort of sit back and watch." The Wild have allowed an NHL-low 29 goals, and their 1.81 goals-against average leads the NHL.

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Andreas Martinsen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- AJ Greer

Rene Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Blake Comeau -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla

Joe Colborne -- Mikhail Grigorenko -- Cody McLeod

Eric Gelinas -- Erik Johnson

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin -- Patrick Wiercioch

Calvin Pickard

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Nikita Zadorov

Injured: Matt Duchene (concussion), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body)

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund -- Mikko Koivu -- Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker -- Erik Haula -- Chris Stewart

Nate Prosser -- Tyler Graovac -- Zack Mitchell

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Christian Folin

Mike Reilly -- Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: None

Injured : Zach Parise (illness), Zac Dalpe (knee), Marco Scandella (high right-ankle sprain)

 

Status report

Greer has one assist in 38:28 of ice time in two games. … Scandella continues to skate but will not play. He has missed the past eight games with a high right-ankle sprain.

 

Who's hot

MacKinnon scored the first shorthanded goal of his career against Dallas and has 10 points in 14 games. … Granlund has 14 points in 15 career games against Colorado.

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