The Minnesota Wild looks to stop a three-game slide against the Colorado Avalanche. Tonight, the teams embark on the second game of a home-and-home series in Denver. Minnesota is 16-17-4 all time at Pepsi Center.
Yesterday, rookie forward Erik Haula made his National Hockey League debut. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he liked the center’s effort in his first outing. Haula picked up his first NHL point, assisting on the team’s lone goal.
Minnesota will be without forward Zenon Konopka tonight. The center took a puck to the face in yesterday’s contest.
After the game, Yeo said that the lineup was in flux and the coaching staff still needs to make some decisions regarding the lines. The team didn’t hold a morning skate, so we won’t know what their decisions are until later today.
The Wild needs to get going offensively. The team has scored just two goals during its last three losses.
Last night, the Wild was upended by the Avalanche, 3-1. Dany Heatley scored the team’s lone goal for his sixth of the season, assisted by Nino Niederreiter and Haula. Goaltender Josh Harding stopped 18-of-20 shots
Meet the Avs
Colorado’s goaltending has been a big reason for the team’s early-season surge. Friday it was Giguere who shut down the Wild and improve to 6-0-0. Saturday, it's likely to be Semyon Varlamov, 12-6-0 with a 2.14 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. Each ranks among the NHL leaders in most statistical categories.
If You’re Going
The 50/50 is a raffle held at Pepsi Center during Avalanche games where 50 percent of the gross proceeds of raffle ticket sales from each home game are awarded to a single winner and the other half benefits Colorado Amateur Hockey Association.
Dany Heatley has found his scoring touch of late. The winger has four goals and five points in the last six games. He’s totaled nine points (6-3=9) in 27 games this season.
Probable Wild Lineup
With Konopka out, the team will likely insert Justin Fontaine back into the lineup, but the lines are yet to be determined:
The blue line is likely to stay the same as yesterday:
Between the Pipes
Harding started yesterday, so Niklas Backstrom might get the start tonight. He is 24-5-3 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and four shutouts in 32 starts against Colorado including an 11-2-1 record with a 2.02 GAA, a .938 SV% and 3 shutouts in 14 road starts.
Yeo Quote of the Day
We’ve lost three games in a row, we all have to recognize that and be better.
View from the Press Box
Honorary State of Hockey Residents
D Erik Johnson hails from Bloomington. LW Patrick Bordeleau was selected by Minnesota in the fourth-round (114th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
Haula registered an assist, two shots and skated 14:17 in his NHL debut Friday vs. Colorado. He is the third player to make his NHL debut with Minnesota this season (Dumba and Fontaine).
Wild at Colorado will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North PLUS with a start time at 8 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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