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GAMEDAY: Wild at Colorado

Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:34 PM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild at Colorado
Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild (29-20-6: 64 points, 8th in Western Conference, 7th in Central Division) vs. Colorado Avalanche (33-14-5: 71 points, 5th in Western Conference, 3rd in Central Division)
It’s been a good start to the Minnesota Wild’s current four-game road trip. The Wild has earned three of four points, including a decisive 4-2 victory over the team with the National Hockey League’s best record, the Anaheim Ducks. After a sluggish start to the season away from Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota has turned it around on the road, going 4-1-1 in its last six games.

Tonight, the Wild faces the Colorado Avalanche for the fifth and final time this season. Minnesota is looking up at the Avs in the Western Conference standings, trailing Colorado by eight points. The Wild faces an uphill battle—the Avalanche has three games in hand—and a win tonight would pull the club closer in the tough Central Division. In the season series, the Minnesota is 1-2-1, but is 1-0-1 at the Pepsi Center. The Wild has found success in Colorado, going 13-2-3 in its last 18 games at Pepsi Center.

The Wild has been hot in January, but the Avs have been equally impressive since the New Year. The Wild and Avalanche have matching 9-3-1 records in 2014.

For the first time since Jan. 2, defenseman Jared Spurgeon practiced with the team at morning skate. The blueliner is not expected to be in the lineup, but for a blue line with only six healthy defenseman, seeing Spurgeon on the ice is a positive sign.

Wild forward Torrey Mitchell celebrates his 29th birthday today. The speedy winger has accumulated five goals and nine assists since signing with the Wild in 2012.

On Tuesday, Minnesota won in Anaheim, 4-2, handing the Ducks only its second regulation loss at the Honda Center this season. Zach Parise led the way with a three-point night (1-2=3), including the game winner for his first points since coming back from Injured Reserve. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist, as did Jason Pominville. Erik Haula also scored, his second of the season. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves for the win.

The Avs last played Monday, topping the Dallas Stars, 4-3, despite getting outshot 44-21. Nathan MacKinnon, Jamie McGinn, Paul Stastny and Alex Tanguay scored for Colorado and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves for the win.

With the Wild on the road, it continues to look for fan engagement with the Red Baron Roadie. The contest is how fans can win great items like autographed merchandise, and maybe even a spot on the 2014-15 Fan Road Trip. Visit the contest rules page for more info on how to enter.
If You're Going
For much of the season Colorado has held a comfortable lead over Minnesota in the standings as well as several games in hand. Heading into Thursday, the Avalanche have three games in hand but will see that number dwindle to one by the time Colorado plays its final game before the Olympics on Feb. 8.

Gabriel Landeskog has points in three straight games for the Avalanche, including a two-assist performance against the Stars on Monday. He has five points in Colorado's past five games and has been a point-per-game player over Colorado's past 17 games.
Want to participate in a fan promotion at the Pepsi Center? Well, here’s how you do it. Look for anyone from the Copper Mountain Ski Patrol Promotional Team as they are always out in the crowd looking for the next winner in the randomly selected contest promotions.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight. 
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Marco Scandella recorded two assists and a plus-3 rating Tuesday and now has six points (2-4=6) and a plus-8 rating in January. He leads the Wild with a plus-12 rating and third with 74 blocked shots this season, posting a career-high 16 points (3-13=16) in 52 games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo | Mitchell | Spurgeon |
PONDcast
Preview: Wild at Colorado
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The forward lines will remain the same tonight:

Parise-Coyle-Niederreiter
Heatley-Granlund-Pominville
Cooke-Brodziak-Fontaine
Mitchell-Haula-Rupp

With only six healthy defensemen, the blue line will stay the same:
Suter-Brodin
Scandella-Prosser
Stoner-Ballard
Kuemper will get his ninth-straight start, setting a Wild rookie record. This is his first time facing the Avs.
View From The Press Box
When you're there, and you're standing behind the players, and you get to hear them talking and what they're saying to each other, it was certainly a fun night.

- Yeo about the team’s bench on Tuesday
Forwards Stephane Veilleux and Jason Zucker will be tonight's healthy scratches.

Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon are listed on IR with lower-body injuries. Josh Harding joins them due to illness.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
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. The Wild continues a stretch of eight straight games against the Western Conference. The Wild is 18-11-4 against the West this season, including an 11-8-1 record against the Central Division.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
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.      
Wild.com
Suter Hopes To Join Father As Olympic Gold Medalist | Wild's Best Of The Web | Wild Prospects Report | Five Takeaways at ANA | Wild 5-Hole at ANA |
WildTV
  Wild Workout In Colorado - Jan. 29
PONDcast
Wild 4, ANA 2
Photo Gallery
Wild at ANA | A Season In Hugs
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 30 '14MIN 4 at COL 5N. MacKinnon
Jan 11 '14COL 4 at MIN 2R. O'Reilly
Dec 14 '13MIN 2 at COL 1 - SOM. Koivu
Nov 30 '13MIN 2 at COL 3 - SOR. O'Reilly
Nov 29 '13COL 3 at MIN 1N. MacKinnon
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Pominville56221739-11255
M. Koivu4482735-41813
Z. Parise41181634+51893
R. Suter5662733+52420
M. Granlund4352227+11821
N. Niederreiter5691726+103010
M. Cooke5681422+54603
D. Heatley5691120-101631
J. Fontaine4912618+72211
C. Coyle4461218-52311
K. Brodziak5641216+12601
M. Scandella5331316+111801
J. Brodin537815+21830
J. Spurgeon4311112+61010
T. Mitchell53189-42100
K. Ballard35178-73100
N. Prosser30246+23502
J. Zucker18404+4011
E. Haula22224+4600
C. Stoner50044-56900
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
S. Veilleux24101-41700
M. Rupp11011+11100
B. Bulmer5000-2200
J. Blum4000+0000
C. McMillan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
D. Kuemper126-3-1273252.51.917
N. Backstrom215-11-2555463.02.899
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Duchene50172946+41754
G. Landeskog52142741+103723
P. Stastny49162339+72032
R. O'Reilly51201737+5054
N. MacKinnon53191837+81875
P. Parenteau4191625+02201
E. Johnson5371421+73920
J. Mitchell5261521+71811
J. McGinn5012820+32612
M. Talbot5361319+22501
A. Benoit5221719-31201
T. Barrie3661117+101822
J. Hejda496814+92000
N. Holden264711+31001
A. Tanguay164711+7402
C. McLeod48279+29200
C. Sarich42189+23400
S. Downie11167+43611
P. Bordeleau53426+15201
M. Cliche47055-51300
N. Guenin41055+22800
R. Wilson19055+31200
B. Malone15022-1200
K. Stollery2000+1200
D. Van Der Gulik2000+0000
M. Hunwick1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
S. Varlamov4327-9-510113312.47.924
J. Giguere137-4-0313562.59.913
S. Aittokallio10-1-03184.50.833
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