Avalanche at Wild, Game 26 Preview

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

tl;dr info: 8:00 Eastern / 6:00 Mountain / 01:00 GMT on Altitude TV, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin; game of some importance

The Avs

Allegedly, they played on Tuesday. It, allegedly, was Nathan Explosion-tier brutal. It's time for the Avalanche to bounce back.

The Boys™ head to Minnesota tonight for a game against the despicable Wild. These teams have played twice already, both of which saw the Avs in road whites. Minnesota won the season opener, but the Avs won the next meeting in a shootout. the Wild sit in a 3-way tie for 8th in the west at 28 points with San Jose and Nashville and lead that particular group on ROW; our Avs are 14th with 24 (or MORE THAN CALGARY!!!1!!1!!!!) 15th.

These teams play again Saturday afternoon in Denver. That means the Avs have an opportunity to directly catch one of the teams ahead of them AND in a playoff spot in a 2-game span. If they still have playoff aspirations (and they've done an odd job of showing it if they do, sending Tyson Barrie down like that) then they probably need to win both in regulation. No pressure or anything.

According to Chambers, Milan Hejduk makes his return tonight and has been practicing alongside Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog; David Jones has been dropped to the Ryan O'Reilly/Johnny Malkin line. It's unclear whether that's where they will play, of course. Semyon Varlamov is expected to get the start.

For the Wild

Goaltender Nicklas Backstrom projects to start. Former DU Pioneer Jason Zucker might play after taking an ugly hit from Corey Perry (resulting in a 4-game Shanabanning for the latter). The Wild's scoring leaders are surprise surprise Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise with 20 and 19 points, respectively; Ryan Suter leads the blueline with 18 points of his own.

Speaking of the blue line, Minnesota recently signed free-agent and old friend Brett Clark, who won't play tonight or probably Saturday either, as Wild coach Yeo wants him to get some practice with the team in first. (Clark had been chomping on mouthpieces for AHL Oklahoma City on an AHL-only deal. He was released to sign with the Wild.) Minnesota have also added former saluting Ranger Mike Rupp since the last time we saw them.

Tale of Two Teams

Colorado have an 8-3-1 record and +7 goal differential at home, the #2 PK in the league at 92.2%, and a bad power play at 14.6%. Meanwhile, on the road, we find a 2-8-3 record, -18 goal differential, a worse power play at 13.9%, and a League-worst 66% penalty kill. THAT'S TURRIBLE.jpg yo. If the Avs could learn to take their home show on the road, they'd be leading the division. Otherwise.... yikes.

Finally, this will surprise nobody, but Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau are en fuego for the Avs; Duchene with 5 goals and 4 assists and Parenteau with 3 goals and 9 assists in the Avs' last ten games.

I hate these guys a lot, Avs. Beat 'em for me, for freedom, for justice, and for the American way, or something.

Stats
25 GP 25
10 W 13
11 L 10
4 OT 2
24 P 28
0.480 P% 0.560
2.44 G/G 2.24
2.88 GA/G 2.40
14.3 PP% 16.5
78.8 PK% 87.0
29.8 S/G 28.0
32.2 SA/G 27.1
50.4 FO% 53.3
Date Vis/Home Final
Feb 14, 2013 COL@MIN COL, 4 - 3
Jan 19, 2013 COL@MIN MIN, 4 - 2

table taken from avalanche.nhl.com

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