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Wild try to cool off Colorado's red-hot line

by Dan Myers


(Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 2-0)


Big story: With home ice, and perhaps more importantly, the ability to match lines, the Minnesota Wild will look to get back into the series by slowing down the Colorado Avalanche trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny and Nathan MacKinnon. That line combined for 10 points Saturday night in Colorado's 4-2 win in Game 2 in Denver.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Steady goaltending and timely scoring have been the calling cards of the Avalanche during the regular season and in the first two games against the Wild. For Colorado to continue its success, they will have to continue to be the keys as the series shifts to Minnesota. At no point in this series has Colorado been the overly superior team, but with the line of Landeskog, Stastny and MacKinnon hitting on all cylinders, the Avalanche have been able to dial up goals virtually on demand. That line scored all four goals Saturday as well as the tying and overtime goals in Colorado's 5-4 win in Game 1 on Thursday.

"It's fun to watch them. It's pretty impressive," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "When you make it to the playoffs, your best players need to be your best players in order for you to have a chance to win. These three guys have done a super job."

Wild: With the ability to make the last change, Minnesota coach Mike Yeo will have the opportunity to use the players he feels are best able to try and slow down the MacKinnon-Stastny-Landeskog line. When the Wild needed a stop against the NHL's best lines during the regular season, veteran wing Matt Cooke and his third line were charged with doing so. But Yeo said he feels like he has plenty of options besides that group, including Mikko Koivu, who Yeo said is one of the best defensive centers in the League.

"I believe the guy should be a Selke [Trophy] candidate every year," Yeo said.

Yeo said he's also seen enough from other his centers, Mikael Granlund, Kyle Brodziak and Erik Haula, that he feels comfortable putting any of their lines out against the MacKinnon-Stastny-Landeskog trio.

"We've played against other great players this year and we've done the job against them," Yeo said. "For me, it's just a matter of resetting and getting back to our game. Obviously, getting home, will give us that opportunity."

Who's hot: MacKinnon's seven points in Games 1 and 2 match the NHL mark for the most in a player's first two career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He is the fourth player to score three or more points in each of the first two playoff games in a career. … Wild forward Charlie Coyle has a goal in each game of the series. He had five goals and 10 points during the final 12 games of the regular season.

Injury report: Colorado forwards Matt Duchene (knee) and John Mitchell (head) are both on the trip but will not play in Game 3. Duchene is expected to skate for the first time since the injury on Monday. He was injured March 29 against the San Jose Sharks. Forward Alex Tanguay (hip) is out for the season. … Minnesota will be without defenseman Keith Ballard (groin) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness). Forward Jason Zucker (quad) and goaltender Niklas Backstrom (abdominal) are out for the season.

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