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Open Thread: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild (6:30 p.m.)

It’s a Colorado Avalanche gameday!

NHL: SEP 30 Blackhawks at Wild Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche will meet the Minnesota Wild for a Central Division matchup at Xcel Energy Arena in St. Paul, MN tonight. The Avalanche arrive after beating the Canucks in a statement win. The Wild are on a severe slide, having lost five straight contests.

Colorado Avalanche

It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season already for the Avalanche, and we aren’t even 20 games into the season. We’ve seen them secure solid and meaningful victories, and we’ve seen them let games slip away. Their third-period performance against the Canucks should provide a blueprint for future success. They limited mistakes, showed commitment and effort defensively, and were the better team 5-on-5.

The Avalanche will be wise to continue that playstyle against a Wild team that is down in the dumps regarding team morale and current performance—no reason to let Minny off the hook.

Projected Lineup:

Valeri Nuchshkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Jonathan Drouin — Ryan Johansen — Tomas Tatar
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Riley Tufte
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta

Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Josh Manson
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones

Note: Kurtis MacDermid and Samuel Girard are listed as “healthy scratch,” according to NHL.com.

Minnesota Wild

What exactly has been making things so difficult for the Wild this season? I’d say a combination of things. Minnesota’s penalty kill has been atrocious and is ranked last in the NHL. This team hasn’t seen stellar performances from their net-minders and seem to be struggling at full strength.

This game could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in St. Paul. We could see some holiday lay-offs if they can’t beat the Avalanche or at least compete with Colorado.

Projected Lineup:

Kirill Kaprizov — Marco Rossi — Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Johansson — Freddy Gaudreau — Matt Boldy
Marcus Foligno — Joel Eriksson Ek — Ryan Hartman
Brandon Duhaime — Connor Dewar — Pat Maroon

Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Brock Faber
Jon Merrill — Zach Bogosian

Goaltenders

It will be Alexandar Georgiev vs. Filip Gustavsson tonight. Hopefully, Georgiev can build off of his third-period performance against the Canucks as well. Outside of his second goal, he was a wall in net for Colorado against Vancouver.

The Tweets: