Game 25 Preview: Wild at Avalanche

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The Wild travel to Denver looking for revenge against the Avalanche after dropping the first game of this home-and-home series 3-1.

After a 3-1 Colorado victory in Minnesota last night, the Avalanche and Wild head back to Denver to close out their home-and-home series. While it is still early in the season, the Wild and Avalanche are danger close in the standings, and look as though they will be battling all season for the third spot in the Central Division, behind the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. If the Avalanche can close out the second half of the series, they effectively create an 8 point spread between them and the Wild, and take a 4 point lead in the standings with 3 games in hand. With a win tonight, the Avalanche can hand the Wild their 4th consecutive loss.

Things to Watch For:

- Despite scoring on a deflection last night, Nathan MacKinnon's shooting percentage is still an abysmal 5.7%. I say this every game, but maybe this is the game where he starts scoring, a lot.

- Patrick Bordeleau played well in his promotion to the third line, will Roy keep him there or take Jamie McGinn out of the doghouse?

- Max Talbot is still looking for his first goal as an Av.

- So are Guenin, Cliche, Giguere and Varlamov (Hey, if Smith can do it why not us?)

- Cody McLeod did something despicable, will he face the wrath of the Shannaban? Or do other players take some responsibility for putting their heads below the level of the dasher when a hit is coming? UPDATE: Dater is tweeting that there is no suspension for McLeod.

Lines:

Below are the projected lineups for each team. The Wild are without Zenon Konopka, who did not travel to Denver after taking a high stick in last night's game. Both teams will change goalies for the second half of the back-to-back: Varlamov will take over the Avalanche net while Backstrom answers the call of the Wild (HA!). The Avalanche lineup below is highly tentative, as of this preview's writing there are no callups from Lake Erie, no word on a Cody McLeod hearing with the Department of Player Safety and no word on Stastny's back spasms (last we heard he was 50/50 for tonight's game). If McLeod is indeed suspended and Stastny is ready to go, expect him to center the second line while MacKinnon moves to wing, if not Roy will likely use Nick Holden as a forward or call up a forward from Lake Erie. UPDATE: Dater is also tweeting that Stastny will be in the lineup tonight.

The Good Guys Projected Lines:

O'Reilly - Duchene - McLeod

Landeskog - MacKinnon - Parenteau

Bordeleau - Mitchell - Talbot

McGinn - Cliche - Malone

Hejda - Johnson

Benoit - Sarich

Guenin - Barrie

Varlamov

Minnesota Wild The Bad Guys Projected Lines:

Parise - Koivu - Coyle

Nino - Haula - Pominville

Cooke - Brodziak - Mitchell

Heatley - Fontaine - Zucker

Suter - Suter

Suter - Suter

Brodin - Suter (seriously, the guy plays the whole game)

Backstrom

Puck Drops at 9:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM MST on ALT TV

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GO AVS!

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