The Minnesota Wild looks to end its three game road trip on a high note in Colorado. After dropping two games in California, the Wild meets the Avalanche for the third time this season. Minnesota also looks for its first win against the Avs, going 0-1-1.
Minnesota will shake things up offensively after recalling forward Erik Haula from Iowa, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate. Haula will center the second line with Nino Niederreiter and Jason Pominville. That will move Charlie Coyle from center to wing on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said yesterday that the team liked the way that Haula played when he was recalled for six games earlier this season. The center tallied two assists and was a plus-1. The 22-year-old showed good speed and a playmaking ability that should fit in nicely with Niederreiter and Pominville.
Coyle moves back to wing where he’s found success with Koivu and Parise. The power forward’s size and strength compliments Parise’s tenacity and Koivu’s playmaking in the offensive end.
Thursday, Minnesota was saddled with seven penalty kill situations against San Jose, who converted on three of them, in a 3-1 loss. The Wild’s lone goal came from defenseman Jonas Brodin, his sixth of the season. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves in the loss.
The Avs took a 4-3 shootout decision against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Matt Duchene scored twice and again in the shootout to lead Colorado past the Jets. Ryan O'Reilly added a goal and Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves in the win.
Meet the Avs
Colorado’s hot start is looking less like a fluke and more like the norm, as the team continues to pile up wins. Third in the Central Division, the Avs are the only team in the NHL without a loss in overtime or a shootout this season.
If You’re Going
If you happen to hear a song you like in the Pepsi Center, you can check the Avs’ website to see what it was. Colorado has a playlist of warmup music, goal songs and fan favorites.
Jonas Brodin tallied his sixth goal of the season Thursday night. He ranks T-4th on the team in goals and T-6th amongst NHL defensemen entering play Friday night. His three PPGs ranks T-3rd on the team and T-7th amongst NHL defensemen.
Probable Wild Lineup
Here are the projected forward lines:
The blue line will look the same:
Between the Pipes
Josh Harding is 3-3-2 with a 2.01 GAA, a .927 SV% and one shutout in 10 matches (eight starts) against Colorado.
Yeo Quote of the Day
If you look at the amount of players below the age of 23 in a significant role…I think we’ve seen that a lot of the times with the scoring and the road woes as well. Younger players have to learn how to win on the road.
- Yeo on the team’s youth gaining experience
View From the Press Box
Mikael Granlund is out with an upper-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident
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.
Minnesota continues a stretch where it faces Western Conference opponents in 11-of-13 games (Nov. 23-Dec. 17). The Wild is 9-7-3 record against the Western Conference this season including a 7-4-1 record against the Central Division and a 2-3-2 mark against the Pacific Division.
Wild at Colorado will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North 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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