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Game 9 Preview: Avalanche at Wild


Colorado Avalanche
6:00 MT / 9:00 ET
Minnesota Wild
6-1-1 October 21, 2009 1-6-0
13 pts
Xcel Energy Center
 2 pts
1st in West
St Paul, MN
15th in West


The Avs lengthy road trip ends tonight as the 1st-place Avalanche take on the last-place Minnesota Wild in Minnesota. The Avs are 4-1-1 on the trip so far and a win against the Wild would be a great way to cap it off. It won't be a cake walk, however. The Wild have been terrible so far, but they've only played 1 home game to date. Don't be surprised if the Wild are invigorated by a return home.

Yesterday, the Wild finally ended that stupid rotating captain thing and named Mikko Koivu as the team's captain. They'll still rotate the alternate captains, but I don't have a problem with that. If you clicked that link, you saw Koivu holding the Wild's new 3rd jersey, which they will be debuting tonight.

The Wild are a bit banged up at the moment. Martin Havlat has a sore groin, but hopes to play (he practiced yesterday and will see how he feels after this morning's skate). Kyle Brodziak did not practice yesterday ("upper body") but should play.  Petr Sykora, Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are all on the IR. Sykora is skating but not practicing and is not expected to play.  It also looks like new arrival Chuck Kobasew - who had his only point of the year against the Avs - will make his Wild debut tonight.

The Avalanche sent down Chris Stewart yesterday so the only potential lineup change would be the inclusion of recent healthy scratch T.J. Hensick. With the presence of heavyweight Derek Boogaard (and possibly John Scott), though, I suspect David Koci will play and Hensick will remain in the press box.

According to the Post's Mike Chambers, Wojtek Wolski has been skating on the 3rd line with Ryan O'Reilly and Cody McLeod. It doesn't mention who is on the right side on that line, or who has replaced Wolski as the left wing on the 1st line so I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens tonight. Craig Anderson will get his 9th consecutive start for the Avs. Nik Backstrom is the presumed starter for the Wild.

Avalanche vs Wild coverage

Hockey Wilderness

Hockeycentric Minnesota Line Combos

Avalanche Game Notes

Today in Colorado Avalanche History: October 21st, 2006 - A day after changing his jersey number to #26 (which John-Michael Liles gave up to take #4), Paul Stastny scores his first NHL goal against Montreal. Milan Hejduk assisted on the goal. It gave the Avs a 3-0 lead in the game...but it wasn't enough. Montreal scored 5 3rd period goals and ended up winning 8-5. The winning goalie? David Aebischer.