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game preview

Avalanche at Wild preview

Stalock to start in goal for Minnesota; MacKinnon hopes to stay hot for Colorado

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (13-6-2) at WILD (8-11-2)

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

 

The Game

Alex Stalock is expected to start in goal for the Minnesota Wild against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

Devan Dubnyk missed practice Wednesday because of a family situation and will not be available for the Wild. Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to back up Stalock. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said he had no timetable for Dubnyk's return.

Minnesota has won four of its past seven games (4-2-1) after going 1-3-1 in its previous five.

The Avalanche have won two straight games and five of their past six (5-1-0) after a five-game winless streak (0-4-1).

 

Players to watch

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past four games.

Wild forward Zach Parise has goals in three straight games and five points (four goals, one assist) during a three-game point streak.

 

They said it

"(Minnesota is) playing real well lately, right now one of the top teams in the League on the defensive side of things and not giving up a bunch of chances in the defensive zone, especially from the slot area. We've seen as of late that their offense is coming alive. Hard-working team, committed team on the defensive side of it, so you can't get frustrated if you're not creating a lot of chances, that's No. 1." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

"To me the fact is (Colorado) is in the Central Division; we're (0-6-1) against Central Division teams. … I think we play 32 games against the Central Division, so ...this is the team and the games we have to have success in if we want to get up in the standings." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Andre Burakovsky -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Valeri Nichushkin -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Jayson Megna

T.J. Tynan -- Vladislav Kamenev -- Logan O'Connor

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: A.J. Greer, Mark Barberio, Antoine Bibeau

Injured: Tyson Jost (upper body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Matt Calvert (head)

 

Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Luke Kunin

Ryan Donato -- Victor Rask -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy -- Brad Hunt

Alex Stalock

Kaapo Kahkonen

Scratched: Nick Seeler, Devan Dubnyk

Injured: Marcus Foligno (lower body), Greg Pateryn (core muscle)

 

Status report

Jost, who will miss his third straight game, practiced in a non-contact jersey. It was his first practice since getting injured. … Dumba will play after missing the third period of a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and not practicing Wednesday.

 

Stat pack

Makar has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past seven games. Burakovsky has goals in three straight games and has six points (five goals, one assists) during a three-game goal/point streak. … Koivu has an assist in three straight games and needs two points for 700 in the NHL.

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