Colorado Avalanche: First Foray into the Wilds of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 2: Nino Niederreiter
ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 2: Nino Niederreiter /

The Colorado Avalanche travel to Minnesota to face the Wild in their first of four meetings. Colorado hopes to keep their points streak alive.

More from Mile High Sticking

A Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild game is always noteworthy, and usually not in a good way for anyone involved. It could get ugly with brawls. It could be a blowout. It could be a 1-0 snoozefest.

And yet every time those two teams meet, Colorado fans at least get excited. It might be the excitement of a cornered dog, but we get excited.

Well, the Avalanche have already faced Minnesota twice, but it was the preseason, so that doesn’t count. (For the off-the-record, each team won at home.) Today’s match up in Minnesota is the first of four regular season meetings.

All time, the Colorado Avalanche have a slight edge over the Minnesota Wild, having gone 53-49-9-3(ties). However, dating back to that fateful playoff series during the golden Why Not Us season (more on that shortly), Minnesota has had a decided edge — 11-3-1 against Colorado. Ouch.

Last season Colorado won two of their five contests — the first two, thus dropping the final three.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: November 24, 2:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), FS-N (Wild feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)

Fateful Playoff Series

The 2014 playoff series against the Minnesota Wild will always be characterized by two disasters for the Colorado Avalanche — Cooke-on-Barrie and the ping heard round Avs Nation.

The first disaster occurred in Game 3. The Colorado Avalanche already had a 2-0 series lead. However, the series had moved to Minnesota, and the Xcel Energy Center was an ugly place to play that year — and not just because of their Christmas puke home uniforms:

colorado avalanche
ST. PAUL, MN – APRIL 4: Mikko Koivu /

Thankfully, those were put to rest for the playoff series, but still. No, it was ugly hockey in Minnesota because they slowed the game way down. That’s where you’d see those dreadful 1-0 games whereas in Colorado you’d see this:

Ok, that was just a gratuitous Erik Johnson skating video, but the reality is that games in Colorado were characterized by fast skating and at least six goals in a game. (That’s not an exaggeration — the scores in Colorado were 5-4, 4-2, 4-3, 5-4.)

Anyway, the villainous knee came early in the second:

I’m not going to say Tyson Barrie was our best player and losing him spelled certain doom for the Colorado Avalanche. It was a big loss, though, considering the team didn’t have a ton of depth.

And it put Minnesota second only to the Detroit Red Wings for most hated teams — and at times, I loathe Minny more.

And then the ping heard round Avs Nation, Stupid McStupidface (known in Minnesota as Nino Niederreiter) scores the Game 7 OT goal for the Wild:

Ugh. In Avs Nation, we’re all either Ryan O’Reilly, furious in our denial, or Andre Benoit, depressed in our disbelief.

That Game 7 loss sent the Colorado Avalanche crashing back down to earth after a lofty season that started with our two player heroes — Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy — taking the reins of a downtrodden team and lifting them to become Central Division champions. And you could make a case that the Avalanche haven’t fully recovered from that fateful ping.  Though they appear to be on the right road, there have been some high-impact casualties — namely Patrick Roy and Matt Duchene.

Anyway, there’s been plenty of Minny hate on this site:

Related Story: 10 Chirps for Minny

And I can personally promise there will be more. However, for now, let’s look at players to watch for this game.

Players to Watch

Well, Stupid McStupidface (Nino Niederreiter) was hot against the Buffalo Sabres, having earned two goals. He has a goal in each of the four games before that one and an assist in each of the previous two games. So, you know, the Avalanche are going to want to put a pin in that.

For the Colorado Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon is molten lava, he’s so hot. He’s had 10 points in the last four games and is currently on pace for a breathtaking 102 point season. Yes, I realize that number will correct itself. However, MacKinnon is playing with a chip on his shoulder and rockets on his skates — this is the first-overall player all of us have been waiting for.

Next: Reasons to be Thankful for the Avs

The Colorado Avalanche will face the Minnesota Wild three more times. They’ll host the Wild on January 6 and March 2, They’ll then visit Minnesota again on March 13.