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Game 2 Preview: Wild at Avalanche

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Let's try this thing again shall we?

This is an Avalanche player in the crease. It's something we haven't seen yet and need to now.
This is an Avalanche player in the crease. It's something we haven't seen yet and need to now.
Doug Pensinger

Nowhere to go but up! Right folks? Right? RIGHT!?

Right.

So up we'll go.

The Avalanche left Xcel Energy Center Thursday night shocked, beaten, bruised, and hopefully embarrassed by their opening loss to the division rival Minnesota Wild. Outshot 48 to (who cares, none of them were dangerous), the flight home had to feel almost as long as it felt to watch the game, endless. Yesterday, the Avalanche had to sit with that sinking feeling a little longer as Patrick Roy kept his players off the ice in favor of some time in the weight-room, and hopefully a lot of time with the game tape.

I hope the Avs players took yesterday to really embrace that awful sinking feeling. No on ice chance at redemption, no practice to work out the demons, just them, the tape, and the loss. Why? Not because I'm some kind of masochist. Not because I think the Avalanche deserve to suffer after their, ehrm.... "lackluster" debut (for the record I think they'll be fine). It's because the best players and the best teams in this league don't just want to win. Everyone wants to win. The best guys hate to lose every bit as much as they love to win.

From C6hor8's recap Thursday night:

In my opinion, that team went out there expecting to score 6 goals. When they were smothered they did not know how to respond. That is hubris after last year. They need to re-learn how to work hard and fight and I am sure Roy will adjust that.

A team that hates to lose doesn't expect 6 goals because they don't expect anything, they come out and claw, and dig, and scrape, and battle for every loose puck, for every rebound, and for every inch in the crease. That's what the Avalanche were missing on Thursday night and that's what they need every night if they want success at an NHL level.

Thats enough with the narratives though, we all know what's at stake here. 2 points. Stop screwing around and go get em.

Avalanche Lineup:

Ryan O`Reilly - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Alex Tanguay

Jamie McGinn - Daniel Briere - Maxime Talbot

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Dennis Everberg

Brad Stuart - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Jan Hejda - Ryan Wilson

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratches: Nate Guenin and Zach Redmond

Not a lot of changes here. Roy goes back to the lines that make the most sense on paper (even though they haven't gelled yet on the ice) and benches Nate Guenin in favor of Ryan Wilson.

3 Keys to the Game:

3. Get Physical - The Wild are going to clog the game up. 8 consecutive games should teach you that. When you can't go around something, go through it. When you can't score from the perimeter, get your skates in the blue paint.

2. Compete Level - You can play your system to the letter and it wont matter if you don't win the battles. Everyone in this league wants the same thing, you have to want it more.

1. Zone Exits - There were 10 billion too many turnovers in the Avs zone Thursday. Unacceptable, pick your head up and take a hit to make a play. No more blind chips, no more weak clears. Help your damn teammates.

Puck Drops at 9:00 EST, 7:00 PM MST on Altitude Sports

Go Avs. Make us proud.