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Game 7 Preview: Avalanche vs. Wild

Hannah Foslien

Define your meaning of fun
To me it's when we're getting it done
I feel the heat comin' off of the blacktop
So get ready for another one
The words circling in my brain
You can treat this like another all the same
But don't cry like a bitch when you feel the pain

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that this series went to seven games. While we want to believe the Colorado Avalanche is a significantly better team than the Wild, the games in Minnesota proved otherwise. Fortunately for the Avs, this has been a series of home-ice advantage, and Game 7 is in their barn. It's no guarantee, though; the Avs will need to dig deep and find a way to close out Round 1 with a win.

After so many minutes facing this opponent, it's unnecessary to break down what the Avs need to do to win. It's the same thing as in Game 1: speed, pressure, and scoring opportunities. Perhaps the best way Colorado can help itself is by converting on the power play. A strength in the regular season, the man advantage hasn't given the Avs an advantage at all in the playoffs. Anemic barely touches the surface of it. Game 7 could certainly see a big change in that dynamic, though, given the additions to the line up.

Getting Matt Duchene back has already shown how much he's been missed. He creates space every time he's on the ice and is always a threat to the opposition. His presence on the first power play unit provides an offensive spark, both in his shot and in his ability to make plays. That vision and creativity has not been hampered by his time on injured reserve.

Roy said yesterday that we'll see Joey Hishon back, as well. Like Duchene, his vision and playmaking are invaluable on the power play. Adding him to the second unit opens up possibilities, not to mention pressure down low as Hishon is not afraid of the dirty areas around the net. He may be brand new to the NHL, but he's not shy, nor intimidated any longer.

If the Avs hope to take this game, it will need more help from the blueline. Erik Johnson needs to find his game again, as does Nick Holden. They are not just the guys providing offense from the back end, though. Both were very effective on the defensive side of things during the regular season. A return to form would be nice right about now.

In net, Semyon Varlamov just needs to be Semyon Varlamov.

More than anything, this game will come down to who wants it more. Both teams have the ability to take over a game; who does that tonight will depend a lot on focus and heart. While the Wild players have experience on their side, the boys in burgundy and blue have a never-say-die attitude that has been cultivated all season. Let's hope they can turn that into a yield-or-we'll-crush-you attitude so that we don't see a repeat of Game 6.

Avalanche Lines
Landeskog - Stastny - MacKinnon
O'Reilly - Duchene - Parenteau
McGinn - Hishon - Talbot
McLeod - Cliche - Bordeleau

Johnson - Hejda
Holden - Benoit
Guenin - Wilson


Viewing Details
CNBC, RDS, TSN2, FS-N, ALT; 7:30 MT/9:30 ET