Skip to main content

'Fired up' Avalanche aim to reverse fortunes vs. Wild

by Rick Sadowski

WILD (14-7-4) at AVALANCHE (11-15-1)


DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche hope to draw inspiration from honoring their 20th anniversary team members Monday at Pepsi Center before playing the Minnesota Wild.

Twenty players were chosen in balloting by the fans.

"The guys should be fired up, for sure," said Matt Duchene, who is among the honored group that includes coach Patrick Roy, general manager Joe Sakic, Ray Bourque, Adam Foote, Peter Forsberg and Claude Lemieux. "There's already a lot [of motivation] playing against these guys."

That's because the Wild have dominated the Avalanche since winning their Western Conference First Round series in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They've shut out Colorado four times in the past seven games and won eight of the past nine, including a 3-0 win Saturday at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild scored four third-period goals in the Oct. 8 season opener to earn a 5-4 win.

"This is something we want to overcome, we want to conquer," Duchene said. "We want to start tonight."

The Avalanche were outshot 44-20 Saturday when they ended a four-game road trip at 2-2-0. Aside from ending their losing streak against the Wild, they need to start winning games at home, where they've gone 3-6-1.

"We have to end that streak of the way they've been able to play against us," Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla said. "They're a good team, they compete hard. Unfortunately, we had a bad game in Minnesota. If we could get this one it would be a bounce back. We got outcompeted and outworked last game. We need to respond.

"Sometimes you have the edge on other teams and for whatever reason they always seem to find a way to win. You just have to find a way to win one. It's time to end that. Last game was a step back and now we need to get moving forward again."

Wild coach Mike Yeo expects the Avalanche to play much better in front of their home fans.

"A much harder game, that's for sure," he said. "I know they're coming back home and these guys are going to be full of energy. These guys always play a very strong, very physical game against us in this building, so we're going to have to be ready for that.

"The message this morning is we cannot expect any carryover from the last game. If we do that, then we'll be putting ourselves in a hole right off the hop. This is a team that's able to attack with speed. This is a team that does a great job of generating opportunities off the rush, so it's a real challenge for us. We did a good job last game, but that doesn't mean we'll do a good job tonight. We have to stay focused on the things that we were doing."

Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper has won all three of his career decisions against the Avalanche with two shutouts, a 1.30 goals-against average and .949 save percentage. He relieved an injured Devan Dubnyk (mild groin strain) in the second period Saturday and stopped all nine shots he faced for his first win of the season.

Here are the projected lineups:


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine

Chris Porter - Erik Haula - Ryan Carter

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin

Nate Prosser - Matt Dumba

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Devan Dubnyk (groin strain), Tyler Graovac (sports hernia)

Scratched: Mike Reilly


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Jarome Iginla

Andreas Martinsen - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Cody McLeod - Chris Wagner - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Brandon Gormley - Nate Guenin

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Injured: Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back), Jesse Winchester (head)

Scratched: Mikhail Grigorenko, Zach Redmond

Status report: Backstrom will dress for the first time this season.

Who's hot: Dumba has a game-winning goal in each of the past two games ... Granlund has two goals and seven assists in his past nine games ... Duchene has 13 goals and nine assists in his past 17 games.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.