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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Colorado

Slowing the speedy Avs a priority for Wild on Saturday in Denver

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (0-1-0) at Colorado Avalanche (1-0-0)

Puck drop: 8:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; @mnwildscribeGameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

DENVER -- If the Wild is to earn it's first victory of the 2019-20 regular season on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche, it will have to find a way to slow down one of the fastest teams in hockey.

Colorado is a team built on speed, especially at home, where it can deploy it's lines at will. 

The forward trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen may be one of the NHL's best. All three players had at least 75 points a year ago, with Rantanen putting up 87 and MacKinnon finishing with 99, including 41 goals.

That line got off to a strong start on Thursday night against the Calgary Flames. Rantanen scored a goal and assisted on two others while Landeskog and MacKinnon each had one assist.

But it's not just that line that can do damage.

Colorado went out and added more firepower over the summer, signing former San Jose Shark Joonas Donskoi as a free agent and trading defenseman Tyson Barrie to Toronto in exchange for centerman Nazem Kadri.

The Avs also traded for former Washington Capital Andre Burakovsky.

"It's a double-edged sword. If you them come to you, they're gonna skate [by you]," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "So you gotta stop them in the neutral zone and you gotta be in their face. If you back up, they're gonna skate all day, so you gotta take the game to them. 

Minnesota made some subtle adjustments to its own lineup, swapping Zach Parise and Ryan Donato during practice in Denver on Friday. 

Video: Lines change at practice in Colorado

if that lineup sticks, Parise would skate with Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway while Donato would be with Eric Staal and Mats Zuccarello.

Devan Dubnyk is expected to start in goal for Minnesota. He made 27 saves in a losing effort in Nashville on Thursday. If Dubnyk gains the start, it will be his 300th game (295th start) in a Wild sweater. He will become the second goaltender in franchise history to play in 300 games (Niklas Backstrom). 

Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves in the win over Calgary and is the likely starter in goal for Colorado. 

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