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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Colorado

Wild wraps three-game homestand against division-rival Avs

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild Pregame vs. Colorado

Wild Pregame vs. Colorado

Head coach Bruce Boudreau, Jared Spurgeon and Devan Dubnyk talk about taking advantage of opportunities as they prepare to face the Avalanche

  • 01:10 •

The Essentials
Who: Colorado Avalanche (7-9-0, 14 points, seventh place in Central Division) at Minnesota Wild (9-6-1, 19 points, fourth place in Central)
Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North Plus; FOX Sports GO; Wild Watch Bar LocationsNHL.TV

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter


The Opponent

The Colorado Avalanche is playing the second of a three-game road trip that will conclude Monday in Columbus. The Avs lost the first game of the trip 3-2 Thursday in Dallas and will be without forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene on Saturday. Landeskog did not play against Dallas and is back in Denver getting re-evaluated for a lower-body injury. Duchene, who missed Thursday's game with a concussion, is back skating with the team but is not ready to return.


Connections

• Wild forward Chris Stewart was a first-round pick of the Avalanche in the 2006 NHL Draft and played in 166 games with the franchise from 2008-11.

• Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson is from Bloomington, Minn., skated at the Academy of Holy Angels and played one season at the University of Minnesota.

• Wild assistant coach Darby Hendrickson played in 20 games for the Avalanche during the 2003-04 season.

• Wild assistant coach Andrew Brunette scored 70 goals and had 205 points in 246 games over three seasons in Colorado from 2005-08.


Gran Wizard

Mikael Granlund has more points (14) against the Avalanche than against any other opponent. In 15 games against Colorado, Granlund has three goals and 11 assists and has a plus-10 rating.


At the Rink

The Wild will conclude a three-game homestand on Saturday, trying to avenge a 1-0 loss to Colorado two weeks ago in Denver. 

To do so, Minnesota will try and create more offense; the Wild has played consecutive 1-0 games, winning one and losing one. It's been a struggle seemingly all month to find offense, as the Wild has scored more than two goals in a game just once since the calendar turned to November.

That's meant a lot of one-goal games. If a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 11 is counted -- the Wild scored a late empty-net goal in that one for the final margin -- Minnesota has been involved in seven-straight one-goal contests.

"I don't think about it; I try not to think about it," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "The one thing I've found that's helped me is I try to concentrate on little things I need to do, and that really doesn't change no matter what the score is. That's helped me over the years to be consistent."

Video: Devan Dubnyk Pregame vs. Colorado

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon said the key to finding more offense could come with simplicity. Getting shots to the net and going hard after rebounds as opposed to looking for the highlight-reel goal could help put a crooked number on the scoreboard.

Granlund's game-winner against Boston on Thursday is a prime example. With 44.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Granlund fired a puck toward the goal, only to see if deflect off a defenseman's leg and into the net.

"We have to find a way to bury them," Spurgeon said. "We have to simplify. Sometimes, we're overthinking things and trying to make cute plays. I think if we simplify our game and start shooting pucks, we'll be good."

Video: Jared Spurgeon Pregame vs. Colorado

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle  

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Jason Zucker - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Zack Mitchell - Tyler Graovac - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin

Mike Reilly - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

AVALANCHE

Andreas Martinsen -Nathan MacKinnon - A.J. Greer

Rene Bourque - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen

Blake Comeau - John Mitchell - Jarome Iginla

Joe Colborne - Mikhail Grigorenko - Cody McLeaod

Eric Gelinas - Erik Johnson

Fedor Tyutin - Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin - Patrick Wiercioch

Calvin Pickard

Semyon Varlamov

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