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Game 3 Preview: Avalanche vs Minnesota

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The boys in burgundy head to the Twin Cities for Game 3. Questions still remain...

Doug Pensinger

Game 2 in Denver was just...

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I'm not gonna lie, that third goal was like hockey Viagra™. It's been over four hours and I might need to see a doctor, if you know what I mean.

The sizable bulge buzz around the Colorado Avalanche continues to grow (phrasing) as they head to Minnesota for the first road game in their 2014 Playoff slate. The Avs took both regular season games in the "state of hockey" with a 3-1 win in November and a 4-2 win in January. So it's been a while since they traveled to the part of the country that most people flee during the winter months.

Nathan MacKinnon's emergence as a dominant force for the last two games will see its next test when the hockey team from Minnesota has last change and an opportunity to dictate matchups. Will he have to wear Ryan Suter as a suit for the next two games? Will it matter? Will Jared Spurgeon continue his heroic play sans jockstrap? Will Patrick Bordeleau eat Cody McCormick's face? Can Minnesota find a way to deal with Colorado's roster built from the "Worst Trade(s) in the History of the Franchise!"™? (I mean of course Semyon Varlamov, Erik Johnson, Maxime Talbot, and all the dudes we could have gotten for Paul Stastny. Also, let's not forget to overlook how gutsy this team has been playing without obvious draftees Seth Jones and Jonathan Huberdeau.) Will the Avs be able to carry the momentum from the 2-0 lead built in Denver? Will the linesmen know how to call offsides?

Minnesota coach Mike Yeo (who looks like everybody's least favorite high school teacher or so I'm told) has been quiet on perhaps the biggest question going into the game: who will be the starting netminder for his team on Monday night? Popular opinion seems to point to Darcy Kuemper getting the nod from ye 'ol Wheel o' Goalies.

For the Avs, the lineup likely remains the same. Despite a scary injury late in the 3rd period, P.A. Parenteau finished the game and should still be in the lineup for Game 3. I'd like him to be a wee bit tougher in his own end and take a shot from between the dots at the other end, but you can't argue with results, I guess? Lots of tweeting and digital ink discussing Matt Duchene's availability will likely be all for naught as he may be close, but I still don't expect to see him before the fifth or sixth game of the post-season. Colorado has also called up the roster fluff from Lake Erie.

There's an old Hindu proverb that goes something like this:

It's not a series until somebody loses at home.

Not sure how ancient Hindus had such insight on a game that wouldn't be invented for centuries in a part of the world that none of them had ever heard of and was climatically and culturally opposite of theirs in nearly every way, but whatever... The point is the same, we aren't done by a longshot. Or a Longshot.

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SB Nation 2014 NHL Playoff Bracket