After a disappointing loss Tuesday night to the Los Angeles Kings, their first shutout loss of the season, the Colorado Avalanche look to rebound with their first intradivision game since facing these very Wild at the end of November.
Their opponent? The Minnesota Wild, a team that is depending on their usual formula of intense defensive pressure to win games. And as usual, it is their lack of offensive depth that is keeping the WIld from legitimately competing for a playoff spot this season. They rank 27th in the NHL in goals scored, and can only boast two forwards with over 20 points on the season, Mikku Koivo and Martin Havlat. In goal, Minnesota has depended on Niklas Backstrom, who has produced solid numbers on the season.
The Avalanche are just glad to see that Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has left town, as he has been the only person who coud stop their recent offensive surge. Even with the shutout, Colorado is still averaging a league best 3.75 goals in their past eight games. NHL First Star of the Week Matt Duchene looks to break his small scoring slump after going two straight games without even an assist on the scoreboard. He'll have to do so without help from winger Milan Hejduk, who is still recovering from his aggravated groin strain.
This is the second meeting this season between the two clubs, with Colorado handily defeating Minnesota 7-4 on the strength of a four point night from Greg Mauldin (2G, 2A).
Craig Anderson and Niklas Backstrom are expected to start in net.
Puck drops at 7pm MST.