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game preview

Avalanche at Wild preview

Colorado seeks third straight win; Niederreiter has five-game goal streak for Minnesota

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (11-8-1) at WILD (10-8-3)

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


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will try for their third straight victory when they play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Friday.

Each team won its game Wednesday, Colorado defeated the Dallas Stars 3-0 in Denver and Minnesota won 5-4 at the Buffalo Sabres.

Forward Nathan MacKinnon assisted on all three Avalanche goals against Dallas and has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in his past 10 games. He is the first Avalanche player to score 20 points in 10 games since Joe Sakic (seven goals, 13 assists) from March 20-April 9, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Minnesota forward Nino Niederreiter has six goals during a five-game goal streak and has scored a power-play goal in four consecutive games. His goal streak is one game shy of the franchise record set by Brian Rolston from Jan. 21-Feb. 5, 2008.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog has four goals and an assist during a four-game point streak and leads Colorado with nine goals.

Wild forward Mikael Granlund has four goals in his past two games and nine points (four goals, five assists) during a five-game point streak.


They said it

"When we bring our best, we're hard to contain. We want to make teams worry about us and not have us worrying about them. The past month we've been doing that." -- Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon

"I think, and I told the players, from day one, it's a race to the playoffs. We really know that our division is very, very competitive with no weak sisters at all. We have to really bear down against these guys and we have to beat them if we want to gain on them." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau


Avalanche projected lineup

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Nail Yakupov

Matt Nieto -- Alexander Kerfoot -- A.J. Greer

Gabriel Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Anton Lindholm -- Tyson Barrie

Mark Barberio -- Chris Bigras

Jonathan Bernier

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Andrei Mironov

Injured: J.T. Compher (broken thumb), Tyson Jost (lower body), Patrik Nemeth (lower body), Colin Wilson (undisclosed), Semyon Varlamov (illness)


Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Daniel Winnik -- Zack Mitchell -- Chris Stewart

Marcus Foligno -- Matt Cullen -- Tyler Ennis

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Kyle Quincey -- Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Gustav Olofsson

Injured: Zach Parise (back)


Status report

Varlamov returned to practice Thursday after missing seven days because of illness but did not travel to Minnesota.


Stat pack

Bernier will make his third consecutive start. He made 28 saves Wednesday. … Staal has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the past five games and 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in the past nine games. Niederreiter has six goals and two assists during a seven-game point streak.

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