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Wild at Avalanche preview

Makar returns for Colorado; Dubnyk in goal for Minnesota

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

WILD (18-15-5) at AVALANCHE (23-11-3)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN


The Game

Cale Makar will return to the lineup when the Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center on Friday.

The rookie defenseman missed the past eight games with an upper-body injury he sustained against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 7. Makar, who will be paired with Samuel Girard, is second among NHL rookies with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 29 games.

Pavel Francouz will start for Colorado, which has gone 2-3-0 in their past five games after going 8-0-1 in their previous nine. Francouz is 9-0-1 in his past 12 appearances with a 2.03 goals-against average and .938 save percentage.

Devan Dubnyk will start for Minnesota after making 22 saves in a 3-0 shutout against the Calgary Flames on Monday. He's 3-0-1 in his past four starts with a 2.74 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

The Wild have gone 2-1-0 in their past three games and 4-4-1 in nine after going 8-0-3 in the previous 11.  


Players to watch

Wild forward Eric Staal has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his past seven games.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his past nine games.


They said it

"We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole at the start of the year. We wanted to at least get back into the playoff mix, and we've done that. It's probably going to go back and forth the rest of the year. There's always that logjam for the last two spots and on up. At least we've put ourselves in a position to be in that conversation when it was looking pretty bleak early in the year." -- Wild forward Zach Parise following a 4-9-1 start to the season

"You never want to be injured. At the same time, it is what it is. These things take time and you have to prepare yourself for whatever comes your way. I'm excited to be back." -- Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar


Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Ryan Donato - Joel Eriksson Ek -- Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway -- Nico Sturm -- Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno -- Victor Rask -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Carson Soucy

Brad Hunt -- Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Nick Seeler

Injured: Mikko Koivu (lower body), Greg Pateryn (lower body), Jason Zucker (lower body)

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Andre Burakovsky -- Nazem Kadri -- Joonas Donskoi

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare- - Matt Calvert

Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher -- Matt Nieto

Samuel Girard -- Cale Makar

Ryan Graves -- Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov -- Ian Cole

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev

Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body)


Status report

The Avalanche reassigned defenseman Anton Lindholm to Colorado of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack

Parise has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past 15 games. … Rantanen has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his past seven games.

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