Okay, now it's getting desperate. The Colorado Avalanche enter tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild in absolute free fall. They have lost six of their past seven games, and have seen their playoff chances dwindle as well. They are in 13th place in the Western Conference less than two months after leading the Northwest Division. Hope still remains, however, as they are only five points out of a playoff spot and are starting to get healthy.
The long awaited return of forward and Colorado legend Peter Forsberg will have to wait another day, as he has been delayed by immigration issues. Look for his season debut to take place on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hopefully his imminent return will spark a dormant Avalanche offense that has now gone six straight periods without a goal, by far their longest stretch of the season.
Another forward has finally returned, as Ryan O`Reilly made a speedy recovery from a shoulder injury suffered against these very same Wild and played on Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes where, despite a solid team effort, Colorado suffered yet another disappointing loss. He will be in the lineup again tonight.
Both teams were shut out by Phoenix their previous contest, with the Wild gaining three whole days to rest. They have used a great 2011 to push their way into playoff contention, though currently are on the outside by two points. Tonight's winner gains a huge step towards that ultimate goal.
Craig Anderson will again start in net for Colorado. If the Avalanche are to make the playoffs this season, it will be on his shoulders. Niklas Backstrom has been fantastic for Minnesota this season, and will again get the start in net.
Puck drops at 6:00 pm MST.