The Colorado Avalanche head up north and take on the Minnesota Wild in an attempt to break a losing streak that seems to be endless. Colorado has only beat one team (the St. Louis Blues) since January 20, and are a combined 0-15-2 against teams not from Missouri in that stretch.
Their job may become even more difficult tonight, as the Avalanche face off against a Minnesota team desperate to make a run, but currently on the fringe of playoff contention. The Wild play a suffocating defensive style in front of their goalie Niklas Backstrom, who is having a spectacular year in net. Backstrom is boasting a 2.36 GAA combined with a .925 SV% for the season and is a main reason the Wild have pushed themselves into the playoff discussion.
Offensively, Minnesota is led by Martin Havlat. Havlat has four goals and five assists in the Wild's previous 10 games, and leads the team in most statistical categories. The Wild have been carried by their special teams this season, with their power play ranking in the league's upper third.
Colorado will welcome back Ryan O`Byrne to the starting lineup after he missed the previous week with over 100 stitches to his cheek after getting kicked by a skate. His return will hopefully provide a boost of confidence to a team that has had a rough stretch of games. They have been lacking the physical defensive presence that O'Byrne brings to the ice.
Peter Budaj will get the start in net. Niklas Backstrom will start for Minnesota.
Puck drops from Xcel Energy Center at 6:00 p.m. MST.