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Avalanche Vs. Wild: Colorado Needs Victory In Minnesota

The Colorado Avalanche dominated the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 last Monday and appeared to be riding a wave of momentum towards a playoff berth. Instead, the Avalanche have appeared completely lost in their past two games and have been outscored 7-1 at home by Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Now, with a home-and-home series against the Minnesota Wild looming, Colorado needs to rediscover their footing and earn a much needed victory. But the degree of difficulty has been raised; not only are they facing a rested Minnesota team on the second night of a back-to-back after being physically manhandled by the Penguins, but they'll be playing this game without the services of forward Steve Downie.

The newly acquired forward suffered an upper body injury against the Penguins and did not travel with the team. There is no official word as to the severity of the injury. Forward Mike Connolly (one of the prospects acquired from San Jose in exchange for Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi at last week's trade deadline) has been recalled from AHL Lake Erie and may make his NHL debut.

Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for Colorado.

Puck drops at 5:00 p.m. MDT

For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Wild blog Hockey Wilderness.