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Roy, Avalanche: Nothing is impossible

Fall five points behind Wild in wild-card race, not ready to give up hope

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Mission impossible? Not as far as the Colorado Avalanche are concerned.

The Avalanche realize it will be difficult to overtake the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference after their 4-0 loss to them Saturday at Pepsi Center.

They trail the Wild by five points with seven games to play, all against teams that have either clinched a playoff berth or are in playoff position. 

 "When you think about where we were in November, we never quit, so why should we quit today?" Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "I know the schedule doesn't favor us, I hear it. But at the same time we have a game in hand (on the Wild). Let's just play our games and play the way we're capable of."

The task will be tougher if forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon remain out, each with a knee injury. Roy said he would have updates on his two leading scorers Sunday before the Avalanche head onto the road for a game Monday at the Nashville Predators and Tuesday at the St. Louis Blues. The Avalanche are 17-17-4 at home this season and 21-16-0 on the road.

Video: MIN@COL: Dubnyk preserves the shutout with a pad save

"It's obvious that our home record this year hasn't been good enough, but let's go on the road and let's see what we can do," Roy said. "This group today, even if we didn't play well after they scored their first goal, didn't quit. They kept working ... this is the type of group that we have."

The Avalanche needed a regulation win Saturday to climb within one point of the Wild, who went 4-0-1 against them this season.

"It's a tough loss, no question," Colorado right wing Jarome Iginla said. "We wanted to cut [the deficit] and have things be in our control with a game in hand, but that's not the way it worked out. It's a tough road ahead, but we're not going to feel sorry for ourselves and give up.

"We have seven games and we're five points [behind], so it's possible. We have to get back at it tomorrow, regroup and try to get better. We need to put a winning streak together."

Video: MIN@COL: Dubnyk robs Mitchell with the glove

The Avalanche played a strong first period, outshooting the Wild 11-8, but the momentum changed when Zach Parise and Jordan Schroeder scored second-period goals for a 2-0 Wild lead.

"We had a great first period, a lot of intensity to start the game," Iginla said. "We did what we wanted to and we were doing it for a bit in the second and they had a bounce and got that first goal. We have to find ways to rebound and get back on it, but we got a little bit off the forecheck and the physicality and intensity and that allowed them to pick up their game. They got better and we didn't sustain it."

Center John Mitchell acknowledged the Avalanche will have a steep uphill climb the rest of the way.

"Every game is obviously a must win," he said. "This is obviously a tough loss for our team and it's going to be a hard pill to swallow tonight, but it's certainly not impossible. We need a little help from other teams, but we have to just focus on what we have to do.

"We have to focus for the next game that we have and just win that game and go from there. We will watch what happens with Minnesota, but we just have to worry about ourselves."

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