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Game 66 preview: Colorado Avalanche @ Minnesota Wild

A night after a 4-0 win in Columbus, the Colorado Avalanche (29-25-11) jettison to the Twin Cities to visit the Minnesota Wild (36-22-7).

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A home-and-home sweep of this series to begin the season was an ominous precursor to the Avs, who have struggled all season to maintain consistency. Possession, defense et. al have been dreadful. But destroying the Avs in two games didn’t exactly send the Wild off towards a 100-point season everyone thought they were destined for. The team was struggling at 18-16-5 and head coach Mike Yeo was doing stuff like this.

And then the Devan Dubnyk trade happened.

Somewhat of a journeyman whose had to play behind some dreadful teams in Edmonton, Dubnyk had some pretty solid numbers in Arizona earlier this season by the Wild landed him for a third round pick Jan. 14. Since then, it’s been all roses as Dubynk has posted an 18-3-1 record with a .940 save percentage. The stretch has not only lifted Dubynk into ‘most unlikely Vezina winner ever’ talk, but also has lifted the Wild from the basement into a comfortable playoff position. They remain my pick to win the West; they have a lot of checkmarks that it takes to make a deep run.

The Avs are quietly 7-3 in their last 10 games, only solidifying their presence in the Calgary Zone (yea let’s leave it as a proper noun). It’s really nice playing the Eastern Conference, if only there was a way to do this more often…

Minnesota has won six straight in the series, and things got pretty ugly last time out (a 3-1 Wild win Feb. 28). Chris Stewart will be lacing up his skates as well, so that should be fun.

Let’s see how this one plays out. Dubynk is almost a lock to start for the Wild while it’s a coinflip between Varly (who now has a .920 save percentage) and Reto Berra for the Avs. Varly has started 21 straight games and a rest might be best. Who knows really. Not going to even try to take a stab at the lines. What’s the point where we live in a world where Cody McLeod is playing with Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog?