GAME: Colorado Avalanche (39-22-13-5) at Minnesota Wild (27-29-20-3).
TIME: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST.
Now that Teemu Selanne's scoring slump is over, the rest of the Colorado
Avalanche hope to follow suit.
Colorado looks to take a step closer to its 10th straight division title
when it faces the Minnesota Wild.
The Avalanche appeared a lock to win the Northwest Division just two weeks
ago, but a season-high six-game winless streak (0-5-1) put that in jeopardy.
Although Colorado ended the slide with a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on
Monday, Vancouver has pulled to within one point of the Avalanche for the
division lead with three games remaining for both teams.
Selanne's first goal and first point in 20 games snapped a tie with 5:10
left in regulation Monday.
"Usually it doesn't matter who scores the winning goal, as long as we
win," Selanne said. "But of course, when you have been struggling like I have
been it's nice to get all of the confidence boost like I can get from this and
Selanne is not the only member of the Avalanche struggling.
Left wing Paul Kariya has no goals in eight games, captain Joe Sakic has one
in nine contests and right wing Milan Hejduk has been stuck on 35 goals for 10
"Hopefully, this game will get us to loosen up the sticks a little and
relax," Kariya said. "We just have to stick with it, and when it comes, it's
going to come in bunches for us."
Colorado, outscored 13-4 during a four-game road losing streak, plays at
Columbus on Friday before closing the regular season at home against Nashville
Coming off consecutive wins over Anaheim and Chicago - two non-playoff teams
- the Wild lost 5-3 at Western Conference-leading Detroit on Monday.
Alexandre Daigle scored twice for Minnesota, which has points in five
straight home games (3-0-1-1) since a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Feb. 22.
Daigle has been one of the league's biggest surprises. The former top
overall draft pick has 18 goals in 75 games this season after scoring 21 in his
previous 154 games with Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and the New York
"I think he's at his best now," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "He's
very comfortable with his game. He understands what we're asking. Now it's up
to him to stay at that level."
Colorado is 14-2-3-1 in the regular season against Minnesota.
STANDINGS: Avalanche - 96 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Wild - 77
points, 5th place, 19 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Hejduk, 35 goals; Alex Tanguay, 54 assists; Sakic,
85 points; Peter Worrell, 177 PIM. Wild - Daigle, 18 goals; Andrew Brunette, 32
assists; Daigle and Andrew Brunette, 47 points; Matt Johnson, 175 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 29): Avalanche - Power play: 20.8 percent (73
for 351), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (286 for 340), 15th. Wild -
Power play: 12.8 percent (41 for 320), 29th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (228
for 272), 19th.
GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - David Aebischer (31-19-9, 4 SO, 2.09 GAA); Tommy
Salo (18-19-7, 3, 2.52). Wild - Dwayne Roloson (17-18-11, 4, 1.87); Manny
Fernandez (10-14-9, 2, 2.51).
SEASON SERIES: Avalanche, 3-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 22; Avalanche, 3-1. At St. Paul, Minn., Colorado got
goals from Hejduk, Sakic and Kariya despite registering just 14 shots on goal.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 20-8-7-4 on the road; Wild - 16-13-7-2 at