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Wild, Avs trying to climb Western standings

by Dave Lozo
AVALANCHE (25-22-6) at WILD (27-20-5)

TV --
ALT2 (HD), FS-N (HD)

Last 10 -- Avalanche 3-7-0; Wild 6-4-0

Season series -- This is the fifth of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals this season, with each team winning twice.

Big Story -- In the deep Western Conference, the 10th-place Wild and 12th-place Avs currently are on the outside of the playoff picture. Peter Forsberg has signed with the Avs, but he's working out issues with his visa and likely won't be in the lineup tonight.

Team Scope:

Avalanche --
It's tough times right now for the Avs, losers of four straight -- the last two via shutout -- and six of seven. In their 3-0 loss to the Coyotes on Monday, the Avs only mustered 26 shots. They haven't scored a goal in their last 120:11.

"I really don't understand and I don't think anyone knows what's going on right now," said All-Star Matt Duchene, who has 2 points in 10 games. "We get chances and they're just not going in for us right now. It's very discouraging."

Wild -- Minnesota has something in common with the Colorado -- the defense of the Phoenix Coyotes.

In the Wild's last game Saturday, they were blanked 1-0 by the Coyotes. But Minnesota has won five of its last seven to surge into playoff contention.

"We had our chances," Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom said of Saturday's game. "We gave up the one goal and it was a tight game. One bounce there, one bounce here and we could have tied it."

Who's Hot -- Coming off two straight 3-0 shutouts, there aren't many hot players on the Avs, but Milan Hejduk had a two-goal game in a 4-3 loss to the Wild on Feb. 3. … Backstrom has allowed just three goals in his past three starts, stopping 98 of 101 shots.

Injury Report -- The Wild and Avalanche haven't been hit with any new injuries in a couple weeks.

Stat Pack -- Neither Colorado (0-for-13) nor Minnesota (0-for-11) has scored a power-play goal in their last four games.

Puck Drop -- "We're not creating anything offensively. You just have to keep it simple and we're not scoring those ugly goals." -- Avs forward Chris Stewart
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