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Game 11: Wild At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

The Minnesota Wild face the Colorado Avalanche today for the second time this season.  The first meeting ended with a win for the Wild and a road loss for the Avs.  Colorado will look to return the favor.

The Avalanche may have it easier this time, since the Wild's top two players, Marian Gaborik and goalie Niklas Backstrom were both injured in what can only be considered the most counter-productive team practice of all time.  Groin pulls will sideline them for today's game.

Also still out with injury is Milan Hejduk, who is reported to be out until Thursday's home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I don't think it's necessary for me to go to great lengths describing today's game a "must-win" or a "critical matchup."  Every game against Northwestern Division rivals is a must-win for the Avalanche.  The Wild are still four points ahead in the standings and the Avs absolutely must gain as much ground as possible.  Luckily, today's game is at the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche has not lost this season.

I will not be around to live blog today, since I'll be attending the United States Grand Prix of Cyclocross, which is in town for the first time ever.  Yesterday's races were intense, and today the pros go at it for a second time.  I highly recommend you check out a cyclocross race if you never have before.  It's an incredible sport.

The hockey game starts at 1:00 PM Mountain time (due to the World Series), 3:00 PM Eastern.  I encourage anyone interested to keep this thread going throughout.  As always, I'll have a recap later in the evening or early tomorrow.

ESPN preview.