GAME: Minnesota Wild (12-14-5-0) at Colorado Avalanche (16-7-5-1).
TIME: Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. EST.
Any questions the Colorado Avalanche had about their goaltending entering
this season are being answered by David Aebischer.
The Avalanche and their top goalie look to extend a season-high eight-game
unbeaten streak when they host the Minnesota Wild.
Following the retirement Patrick Roy -- arguably the greatest goaltender in
NHL history -- Colorado entered this season with two relatively inexperienced
players in net in Aebischer and Philippe Sauve. On a team loaded with offensive
talent and expected to be a leading contender for the Stanley Cup, goaltending
figured to be Colorado's only weakness.
Aebischer, who made 60 starts in his first three NHL seasons, has answered
the critics with an outstanding first two months. He is among the league
leaders with 14 wins, a 2.08 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
Aebischer had another strong performance Saturday, stopping 32 shots as
Colorado skated to a 1-1 tie at Calgary.
In his last six games, Aebischer is 2-0-4 while allowing just seven goals.
"David's been everything we expected him to be and he certainly was a key
factor in us getting a couple points on this trip," Avalanche coach Tony
Saturday was the second consecutive 1-1 tie for Colorado, 4-0-4 since a 3-2
loss to Nashville on Nov. 24.
Although the Avalanche haven't lost in three weeks, Aebischer wasn't
satisfied with his team's performance Saturday.
"Nobody's happy in here," Aebischer said. "It's not so much because of
the one point, it's more because of the way we played. We can be much better
than this, that's for sure."
Minnesota has put together back-to-back wins for the first time in more than
a month following a 5-2 victory at Phoenix on Monday.
Andrew Brunette had a goal and two assists for the Wild, winners of three of
four after winning just one of their previous eight games.
Minnesota had played eight straight games decided by one goal or in overtime
before Monday. The Wild are one of the league's weakest offensive clubs with 65
goals in 31 games.
"We're not a high-scoring team, but I think if we play as hard as we did
tonight we could get our share of goals," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "It's
one of the few games we worked from start to end the same way."
Wild right wing Marian Gaborik, Minnesota's best player, has one point in
his last nine games.