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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Avalanche

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (0-0-0: 0 points, T-1st in Western Conference, T-1st in Northwest Division) vs. Colorado Avalanche (0-0-0: 0 points, T-1st in Western Conference, T-1st in Northwest Division)
The Minnesota Wild returns to the ice tonight with more hope and excitement than any of the team’s previous 11 seasons. The new look Wild has more offensive firepower and depth, in both its lineup and its minor-league prospects, than ever before. The organization was transformed on July Fourth with the dual signings of the two most sought after free agents on the open market: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The team inked two depth players with NHL experience in Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell. Finnish sensation Mikael Granlund will make his long-awaited National Hockey League debut tonight after Minnesota made him its first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is symptom free will return, after missing nearly all of last season with a concussion.  

Today also marks the State of Hockey’s celebration of the greatest game on earth: Hockey Day Minnesota. FOX Sports North will be broadcasting live from Grand Rapids’ Lake Pokegama with two boys’ high school hockey games, the University of Minnesota game at 5 p.m., tonight’s Wild game against the Colorado Avalanche at 8 p.m., and closes HDM with a tape-delayed broadcast of Hibbing vs. Grand Rapids girls’ hockey game. After the NHL lockout delayed the start of the 2012-13 season, there is no better day to welcome the NHL back in Minnesota.

The last time the Wild played a regular-season home game at Xcel Energy Center was more than nine months ago. Last season, Minnesota got off to a great start, with the NHL’s best record in mid-December before a plethora of injuries derailed the club’s playoff hopes. This season, after an abbreviated six-day training camp and a Red versus White Intra-Squad Scrimmage, the team has a dauntingly compacted 48-game schedule ahead. In the Wild’s Intra-Squad Scrimmage, Jared Spurgeon starred scoring two goals, helping out with an assist and scoring on a beautiful backhand shelf in the shootout.

The Wild will meet the Northwest Division rival Avalanche five times this season. Last year the Avalanche and Wild split a six-game season series. The Wild is 32-29-8 overall and 18-12-4 at home against the Avs. Last season, Colorado finished 11th in the Western Conference, one spot ahead of the Wild. 
Meet The Avs If You're Going
The Avs have hooked its horse to 20-year-old Gabriel Landeskog, as he became the NHL’s youngest captain before the start of the season. The Stockholm, Sweden native won the Calder Memorial Trophy last season as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. In his first season, Landeskog racked up an impressive 52 points (22-30=52). The Avs added free-agent forward PA Parenteau, a skilled playmaker, in the offseason. All fans in attendance will receive a red Wild T-shirt presented by FOX Sports North. You also will notice the changes to Xcel Energy Center’s West End. With the recent construction of the Bud Light Top Shelf Lounge the hockey capacity for the arena is 17,954.  Prior capacity was 18,064.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
As previously noted, Spurgeon shined during the Wild’s Intra-Squad scrimmage. The young blueliner is a part of the Wild’s top defensive pair alongside Suter. Spurgeon was Minnesota’s top scoring defenseman last season and looks to expand his offensive game alongside the All-Star, Suter.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prize
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report
@mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Brodziak Pregame
PONDcast (coming soon)
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The Wild has never had a top line with the offensive potential of Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley:

Parise – Koivu – Heatley
Cullen – Granlund – Setoguchi
Bouchard – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Mitchell – Konopka – Powe

Suter will be depended on to carry a big load on the Minnesota blue line:

Suter – Spurgeon
Gilbert – Stoner
Falk – Prosser

Niklas Backstrom is expected to get the nod in net. The veteran went 19-18-7 with a 2.43 goals against average and .919 save percentage last season. Backstrom is an Avalanche stopper going 3-1-0 with a 1.50 goals against average and a .951 save percentage last year. Lifetime, the Finnish netminder is 20-5-2 with a 2.16 goals against, a .928 save percentage and four shutouts in 27 starts against Colorado. 
View From The Press Box
It’s really, really exciting right now. It’s exciting because it’s been a long time, it’s exciting because of the promise, and it’s exciting because the week that we’ve had and the work we’ve put in, we feel very ready for this.

- Yeo on opening night
Forward Matt Kassian will likely be the lone forward out, but Yeo said the bruiser could get in tonight depending on the Avs’ lineup. 18-year-old Matt Dumba is not expected to make his NHL debut tonight.

No players are out of the lineup due to injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Defenseman Erik Johnson grew up in Bloomington. Chuck Kobasew and Greg Zanon are former Wild members. Kobasew played for the Wild from 2009-2011, while Zanon played most of the last three seasons in Minnesota. The Wild has never lost a home opener played at Xcel Energy Center, going 10-0-1 in the team’s 11 seasons and has won the last 10 straight. The Wild tied Philadelphia 3-3 in its first franchise home opener (10/11/00), giving the team its only non-win.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Avalanche will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 8:00 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at

Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
Getting Into Game Shape
Five Takeaways From Intra-Squad Scrimmage
Hockey Day Minnesota Coverage
Yeo - Jan. 18 | Gilbert - Jan. 18
Dumba - Jan. 18 | Parise - Jan. 18
PONDcast Season Preview Pt. 1 | Pt. 2
Behind The Scenes From Training Camp
2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 27 '13 MIN 3 at COL 1 D. Setoguchi
Mar 16 '13 MIN 6 at COL 4 P. Bouchard
Mar 14 '13 COL 3 at MIN 5 M. Koivu
Feb 14 '13 COL 4 at MIN 3 - SO M. Hejduk
Jan 19 '13 COL 2 at MIN 4 D. Heatley
J. Mitchell1101+1200
C. McLeod1101+1500
M. Hejduk1011+1000
G. Zanon1011+1000
S. Downie1011+1600
M. Olver1011+1000
P. Bordeleau1000+1000
T. Barrie1000+1000
P. Parenteau1000+0000
R. O'Byrne1000+0200
J. Hejda1000+0400
M. Duchene1000+0000
G. Landeskog1000+0000
E. Johnson1000-1000
R. Wilson1000-1000
D. Jones1000-2000
P. Stastny1000-2000
J. McGinn1000-2000
S. Varlamov10-1-04354.07.886
D. Heatley1202-1021
M. Koivu1022-1000
Z. Parise1022-1000
P. Bouchard1101+1000
M. Granlund1101+0000
K. Brodziak1011+1000
C. Clutterbuck1011+1200
D. Setoguchi1011+0000
J. Spurgeon1011-1000
T. Gilbert1000+1000
C. Stoner1000+1000
D. Powe1000+1000
Z. Konopka1000+0700
T. Mitchell1000+0000
J. Falk1000+0000
N. Prosser1000+0000
M. Cullen1000-1000
R. Suter1000-1200
N. Backstrom11-0-02272.00.926 is the official Web site of the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club. The Minnesota Wild,, "The State of Hockey" and State of Hockey flag image are trademarks of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015  Minnesota Sports & Entertainment and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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