The Colorado Avalanche got back into the win column with their
best offensive performance in three weeks their last time out. On
Saturday night, they’ll try to improve to 3-0 this season against
the Minnesota Wild, who are enduring a bigger offensive slump than
the Avs were.
Colorado (21-9-0) avoided a third straight loss by defeating
Winnipeg 4-3 in a shootout Thursday. The Avalanche, who had managed
one goal in both of the defeats, hadn’t hit the four-goal mark
since a 4-3 win over Phoenix on Nov. 21 – a span of eight
Though the final tally came via the tiebreaker, the Avs will
take it after falling behind 2-0 just 5:25 into the game.
”That’s the dangerous part of this because sometimes when you
get behind you have the tendency to go individually and that’s not
what we did tonight,” coach Patrick Roy said. ”We (stuck) to the
plan, we (stuck) together, we played as a team.”
Matt Duchene powered Colorado offensively, scoring twice with an
assist in regulation and adding a shootout goal. The club leader
with 14 goals snapped an eight-game goal drought – seven coming
after he returned from a stomach injury.
His goal late in the first cut the Jets’ lead in half as the Avs
went on to tie for the most wins through 30 games in franchise
”They started really well. You’ve got to tip your hat
sometimes,” Duchene said. “Getting that one kind of gave us some
life and got the momentum going again, so it was a big goal.”
Colorado generated enough scoring to sweep a home-and-home
series with Minnesota on Nov. 29 and 30, winning 3-1 on the road
and 3-2 at Denver. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon combined
for seven points in those games as the Avs ended a three-game skid
against their division rival.
The Wild (18-11-5) could now be the ones with a three-game
losing streak in the series if they can’t figure out how to score
more. Minnesota has recorded 15 goals during a 3-6-1 slump,
totaling one or none six times in that stretch.
They managed one apiece in dropping their last two contests,
falling 3-1 at San Jose on Thursday. Jonas Brodin scored for
Minnesota, loser of three of four overall and five straight on the
The Wild gave the Sharks four power plays in the first period,
with San Jose converting on two of them. The Sharks went 3 for 7 in
”Our guys battled hard. We didn’t do enough, there’s no
question,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We were in the box too much. We
didn’t finish well enough. Penalty kills, it doesn’t matter how
many times (opposing players) dive or embellish, we have to make
sure we kill them off.”
The Wild’s 77.9 penalty kill percentage is toward the bottom of
Minnesota has not scored first in any of its last 10 losses, and
it’s given up the first goal in eight consecutive road games, going
2-5-1 in that span.
“It’s tough to come back when teams have leads,” forward Jason
Pominville told the team’s official website.
Doing that has been impossible against Colorado when the Avs are
ahead after two periods, going 18-0 in that situation.
Josh Harding seems likely to be back in net for the Wild after
sitting out the second of back-to-back games Thursday. Harding was
in goal for both contests against Colorado last month.