The Avalanche: (5-3-0)
The Opponent: Minnesota Wild (5-3-0)
Puck Drop: 6:00 PM MT
Watch: ALT, FS-N, FS-WI
Listen: Altitude 92.5 FM, AM 950
The Avalanche travel to Minnesota to face the Wild in the season’s first four games between the two rivals. In this unusual 2021 season, this is sure to spark some fireworks seeing the same team four times over the next week. This four-game series will make it feel like a playoff atmosphere, each team wanting to get the better of the other in the series. Plus, with each team being so close in the division, every point is more important than ever in this series.
The Avalanche are coming off of a two-game sweep of the San Jose Sharks at home. However, this has left the squad short-handed, with new injuries to Matt Calvert and P.E. Bellemare, both who will be unavailable for the first game of the series at least. The Avalanche and Wild were even last season, going 2-2-0 in the four games they played one another, and were supposed to play a fifth match before the shutdown occurred.
The Avs will need replacements for Bellemare and Calvert for the short-term future. There have been adjustments to the taxi squad, with Bednar bringing in Logan O’Connor, Shane Bowers, Sheldon Dries, and Jacob MacDonald to join them on the road trip. Martin Kaut will be sent back down to the Eagles. Plus, there is still uncertainty of Devon Toews after blocking a shot on Thursday night.
The #Avs are recalling Shane Bowers, Sheldon Dries, Jacob MacDonald and Logan O'Connor for the road trip.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) January 29, 2021
He said Devon Toews is a little banged up and they don't know his status. Francouz, Bellemare and Calvert all sound like they'll miss extended time.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Joonas Donskoi - J.T. Compher - Valeri Nichushkin
Tyson Jost - Logan O’Connor - Kiefer Sherwood
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Smauel Girard - Conor Timmins
Bowen Byram - Erik Johnson
The Wild are coming off of a victory against the Los Angeles Kings 5-3. However, the Wild will be without one of their top forwards for the the first three games of the Avs-Wild series. Kevin Fiala was handed a three-game suspension after a scary hit on the Kings Matt Roy. He was kicked out of the game for the misconduct and has been handed the punishment by the NHL.
Minnesota’s Kevin Fiala has been suspended for three games for Boarding Los Angeles’ Matt Roy. https://t.co/i6vUnV1Q0b— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 29, 2021
The Wild be missing a key piece going forward and will be looking to stay strong without a top-six forward. They’ve had to call up Gerald Mayhew from AHL affiliate Iowa Wild to fill his spot in the roster for now.
Projected Lines (From Hockey Wilderness)
Marcus Johansson - Nick Bjugstad - Zach Parise
Marcus Foligno - Joel Eriksson Ek - Kirill Kaprizov
Victor Rask - Nico Sturm - Jordan Greenway
Gerald Mayhew - Nick Bonino - Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba
Carson Soucy - Ian Cole
The Avalanche will be looking to get the best of the Wild in this four game series, and it all starts with a strong Game 1 performance. Let’s go Avs!