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Wild tries for home-and-home sweep of Avalanche

by Deborah Francisco

WILD (14-10-2) at AVALANCHE (10-12-4)

TV: FS-North, FS-Wisconsin, ALTITUDE

Last 10: Minnesota 6-4-0; Colorado 3-4-3

Season series: It's the fourth of five meetings between these Northwest Division rivals, and the second in three days. The Wild won two of the first three games, losing only in a shootout on Feb. 14

Big story: This is the second game of a home-and-home series between the Avalanche and Wild, with Minnesota looking for a sweep after winning 5-3 at home on Thursday. That loss dropped the Avalanche to the bottom of the Western Conference standings, though they are only six points out of fifth place.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota is the Northwest Division's hottest team at the moment with six wins in its last 10 games including three victories against division rivals. Minnesota trails Vancouver by just two points in the Northwest Division, and with 30 points they are in sixth place in the West.

In Thursday's contest Minnesota outshot Colorado 19-12 in the second period and notched three goals in a span of 3:11. That was enough to keep Colorado at bay. Minnesota rookie Jonas Brodin scored his first NHL goal during the second-period outburst.

"It took a while to get my first goal, but I'm just happy the team won," Brodin said. "We played a good game tonight. It was a tough game tonight, but I think we controlled it pretty good."

Avalanche: After winning back-to-back games last week, Colorado has dropped two games to division rivals.

The Avs spent most of Thursday playing catch-up after the Wild's big second period on Thursday. Matt Duchene's third-period tally brought them within one goal, but Minnesota managed hit the empty net to ice the win.

"They outworked us in that second period, they outcompeted us, they won more battles," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "We talked about a couple of things before the game: a high compete level, which I didn't see in the second period."

Who's hot: Mikko Koivu notched a pair of goals Thursday night and leads the Wild with 22 points, including six goals. … Duchene has five goals and nine points in his past five games. He leads the Avalanche in goals (12) and is tied with teammate PA Parenteau with 16 assists.

Injury report: Forward Jason Zucker is out indefinitely (upper body) and Minnesota goalies Josh Harding (illness) and Darcy Kuemper (groin) are on injured reserve… For Colorado, forward Steve Downie is out for the season (knee).

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