The Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Minnesota Wild in a charged Central Division game that can help determine if the Avs make the playoffs.
The Colorado Avalanche continue their homestand with a game against the (hated) Minnesota Wild. This marks the third of four meetings between the two teams.
So far, Colorado and Minnesota have split their series, each team winning at home. However, the Avalanche’s was a decisive 7-2 victory while it took the Wild to get to the shootout to win in Minnesota.
The Avalanche are in the third game of a four-game homestand. They’ve won two games so far, beating Vancouver 3-1 on Monday and taking a thrilling 5-2 decision to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Minnesota is in the second game of a back-to-back, having lost 5-3 in Arizona last night.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: March 2, 7:00pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), FSN (Wild feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)
Colorado Avalanche Still in Playoff Contention
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One down and 19 to go.
In a recent post, I wrote that the Avalanche were still in playoff contention, and that was an exciting thing. I opined that, basically, it came down to Colorado winning 13 of their last 20 games. That’s a tall order, but doing so probably assures the Avs a berth in the tightest playoff race in sports.
Well, the Avalanche made good inroads to that effect Wednesday by beating the team directly above them in the standing, the Flames. That bumped Colorado above Calgary with two games in hand. The team directly above them, the St. Louis Blues, are in a delightful (for us) free fall — 3-6-1 in their last 10. The management is so sure the Blues aren’t making a legitimate playoff run that they sold off one of their best players, former Av Paul Stastny.
The Colorado Avalanche are now one point out of the final wild card berth with a game in hand over the team that currently holds it, the Anaheim Ducks.
Going back to my numbers. They’re one down with 19 to go of the 20 games I analyzed. And that one game was a win.
Keys to the Game
For the Avs, the main key to the game is always game management. They still have a maddening tendency to take shifts off. You can’t do that when you’re in a playoff race — especially such a tight one.
Specifically against the Wild, the Avalanche are going to have to balance intensity with intelligence. They cannot start taking a lot of stupid penalties — I’m looking at you, Nikita Zadorov.
Colorado also needs to score first. Minnesota plays a sticky game. If they get a lead, they really buckle down. Whatever home mojo the Avalanche have will need to continue tonight. Between coming out with measured intensity and staying out of the penalty box, Colorado should be fine.
And for the love of everything hockey, keep Devan Dubnyk away from Alexander Kerfoot. That big
goon goalie tried to remove our rookie’s Harvard-educated head in the last home game, and I’m still salty about that.
My Hatred of the Wild
It has been brought to my attention that my hatred of the Minnesota Wild seems weird. I find that werid. Sports rivalries are fun. It’s more fun to hate the Wild than it is to not hate the Wild.
We’re in the same division. They knocked us out of the last playoffs we’ve been in partially by taking out one of our players with a dirty hit. They’ve been a tough team to play against, and there’s been a lot of history.
This isn’t the Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry of yesteryear. This is a baser, nastier, often more frustrating rivalry. All I can say is the history between the two teams gets me more excited for these match ups than games against anyone else.
And tonight’s game marks Game 2 of 20. They need those 13 wins, and it’s more likely to happen at home than on the road with the Avalanche.
So, come on, Avs Nation, join me in hating the Minnesota Wild.
After tonight, the Avalanche and Wild will meet just one more time, in Minnesota on March 13.