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Avalanche at Wild: Game 24 Preview

Colorado (17-6-0) face off with Minnesota (15-7-4) in the first of a back to back home and home divisional series with serious playoff implications, and other buzzphrases as well.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche were sort of on the skids. It was freezing, because they were in Minnesota and that's just sort of what Minnesota does, and they had been down on their luck recently, only winning half of their last ten games instead of six of every seven. American Thanksgiving was over, which meant that Christmas season had officially begun, even for the GOOD CANADIAN KEDS PAT ROY HAS DOWN THERE IN COLORADA. They were out and about in search of standings points to buy their fans for the holidays.

But Paul Stastny, attempting to get his shopping out of the way ahead of time, had accidentally bought way too much a few days ago and thrown out his back. Rumor has it he said "teams are heavy, you guys," as he lay on the ground, wins spilling out of the bags he had tried to carry.

So the Avalanche had to make do without him. They busted the Xcel Center doors that Black Friday, which had opened early for the occasion, in hopes of finding deals. The first they found was in a back-to-the-ice Matt Duchene, whose obliques were right again.

They found some low prices within the Minnesota roster: All forwards were 1 Mikael Granlund (officially UBI but suspected concussion) off, and there was a chance for them to be 1 Zach Parise (bone contusion) off as well. The entire adjectival team, however, might cost a Josh Harding, who has owned all pucks that dare defy him so far this season. His .939 SV% is good for 2nd in the league among guys with 10+ GP. Yeo hasn't said whether it will be him or Nicklas Backstrom tonight yet though.

With prices slashed and everything in general turned upside down coach Roy decided his Thanksgiving practice would deliver the Avs some new-look lines.

Avs lines (projected):

McLeod - Duchene - O'Reilly SLAP Foh I don't even care anymore.
Landeskog - MacKinnon - Parenteau
Bordeleau - Mitchell - Talbot
McGinn - Cliche - Malone

The hell?

Tanguay (knee), Wilson (bonitis), Stastny (back spasms), Holden (healthy)

Your defense pairings should be status quo. Johnson with Hejda, while Barrie and Benoit switch off who is with Sarich and Guenin (but usually that's the right order). J.S. Giguere is scheduled to get the nod in net tonight, with Varlamov slotting back in for tomorrow's game in Denver.

Anyway back to the story. Those guys I just listed ran into some other guys wearing hideous Christmas sweaters* inside the Xcel Center and an argument broke out over how big an affront to decent English the name of the place is. That culminated in a hockey game. You can watch it today, you lucky bastard!

TV: Altitude, Fox Sports-North, Fox Sports-Wisconsin | 6:00 ET | 4:00 MT | 23:00 GMT

* Wild coverage, and even some coverage of Minnesota's hockey team, brought to you by the lovely fuckholes at Hockey Wilderness. They're under decent management these days so go be friendly. If they wear their thirds tonight I take back everything I said about the unis being ugly. Those thirds are some of my favorite in the league.