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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Colorado

Central Division rivals clash Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Colorado Avalanche (13-6-2) at Minnesota Wild (8-11-2)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: FM 100.3 KFAN, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- The Wild returns to play inside the Central Division on Thursday night when it hosts the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center. 

Minnesota is coming off one of its most complete efforts of the season in a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday at KeyBank Center.

It finished off that game without the services of defenseman Matt Dumba, who sustained some sort of injury in the second period of the game and did not play over the final 20 minutes.

Dumba did not practice on Wednesday at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau classified him as a game-time decision for Thursday. 

One player who is not expected to be available is goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who also missed practice on Wednesday with a family situation. The Wild recalled goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen from Iowa under emergency conditions and he's expected to backup Alex Stalock against the Avs.

Stalock made 30 saves in the victory at Buffalo and has four of Minnesota's eight victories this season.

"We think he's a good goalie, so it doesn't surprise me that he's [been the winner of half of Minnesota's games so far]," Boudreau said. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau Wednesday practice update

The Wild's opponent on Thursday has managed to weather injuries to a number of critical players on its roster, including captain Gabriel Landeskog and forward Mikko Rantanen, both of which have been out multiple weeks with injuries. 

Forwards Colin Wilson,Tyson Jost and Matt Calvert also missed Colorado's 3-2 win Tuesday in Calgary, with only Jost expected to make the trip to Minnesota. 

Despite all those injuries, the Avalanche have a 3-1 record in the first four games of a five-game, 10-day road trip that concludes in St. Paul, a trip that began in Winnipeg on Nov. 12 and spanned western Canada. 

Colorado has won five of its past six overall since starting the month of November with three consecutive losses. 

The game Thursday marks the second of five meetings between the Central Division rivals this season and the first at Xcel Energy Center. 

Landeskog's goal late in the second period on Oct. 6 was the game-winning marker in a 4-2 Avalanche victory at Pepsi Center in the second game of the regular season for both clubs. 

Nathan MacKinnon leads Colorado with 13 goals and 31 points while rookie defenseman Cale Makar has been outstanding as well, posting five goals and 23 points in 21 games to go with a plus-9.

In the absence of Landeskog and Rantanen, former Washington Capital Andre Burakovsky has stepped up. He has 10 goals and 18 points while fellow newcomer, Joonas Donskoi, has nine goals and 15 points. 

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer returned from injury in Calgary to earn the victory. He is 7-3-2 in 12 starts this season with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

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