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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Road trip ends in Minny

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Avalanche look to bury a struggling Minnesota Wild

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche will end their five-game road trip tonight with a matchup against rival Minnesota Wild. This Avalanche squad has won five of their last six games despite having to call up two AHL goalies and numerous AHL forwards. The Wild are doing thier best to turn their season around after a horrendous start. Minnesota has won three of the last five but remains second to last in the Western Conference.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

As we all know, Colorado has caught the injury bug. As a result, the Colorado Avalanche’s current third and fourth line features three forwards that planned on spending most of the 2019-20 season in vail with the Colorado Eagles. On top of that, Vladislav Kamenev has gotten some vital ice time after starting the year as the usual healthy scratch on game day.

Andre Burakovsky, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar have been the talk of the town over this road trip, and I expect them to light it up again tonight. The Wild are one of the league’s slower teams, and for the Avs speed kills.

FORWARDS

Andre Burakovsky - Nathan MacKinnon - Joonas Donskoi

Matt Nieto - Nazem Kadri - J.T. Compher

Valeri Nichushkin - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Logan O’Connor

T.J. Tynan - Vladislav Kamenev - Jayson Megna

DEFENDERS

Ian Cole - Cale Makar

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov - Mark Barberio

NOTE: Avs defender Ryan Graves has ten PIM in the last three games. This may explain Mark Barberio pairing with Zadorov.

MINNESOTA WILD

This year’s Wild squad has been struggling, only accumulating eighteen points in twenty-one games. At this pace, they will finish the year with just thirty-two regulation wins. Minnesota’s poor start has Head Coach Bruce Boudreau on the hot seat. A home loss to a division rival tonight could be the tipping point for Ol’ Bruce.

FORWARDS

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin

Ryan Donato - Victor Rask - Ryan Hartman

DEFENDERS

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy - Brad Hunt

GOALTENDERS

The Wild will likely go with Alex Stalock in net this evening. Stalock would get his eighth start of the year if so. He currently has a SV% of .911 and a GAA of 2.63. A start for Stalock would also mean the second straight benching of usual G1 Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk hasn’t started since giving up four goals on twenty-eight shots in an OT loss the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday.

The Avalanche got Philipp Grubauer back in their last game against the Calgary Flames. He will likely get the nod again tonight. It was good to see Grubby back in net, and he seemed to be moving and reading the play just fine.