Avs Gameday: Colorado vs. Minnesota
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Avalanche And Wild Play Another Tight Game
Both clubs played more stingy defense in the third meeting of the regular season
In the Avalanche's and Wild's first two meeting this season the games were back-and-forth, grinding-out contests. That trend continued Saturday night.
Neither team had many clear scoring chances as both defenses played stingy, and the goalies were up to the task to make saves when tested. The only regulation goals scored came on shots that went off a skate and was tipped in front.
In its first two games against Minnesota, Colorado was able to pull out wins—one coming in a shootout—and needed to win a tiebreaker again Saturday to take a 3-0-0 lead in the series. The Avs couldn't and the Wild won the shootout 2-1 and won the game by the same score.
"I think both teams played really well," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said. "It was two fluky goals. Ours missed the net, hit the skate and went in, and I think they had same thing, had a tip into the net. They were not pretty goals, but at the same time I thought both teams played a pretty good game."
The game was played tight on the ice, but it was also tight on the final gamesheet as both teams had 27 shots, blocked 15 shots and had 11 takeaways. The Wild had a 25-23 edge in hits, but the Avs won 26 of 50 faceoffs.
* Cory Sarich extended his point streak to three games (0g/3a), tying his career long streak set Nov. 17-21, 2002 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning…Sarich’s current three-game assist streak is a new career high.
* John Mitchell appeared in his 300th NHL game.
* The Avs lost for the first time this season when scoring the first goal (now 17-0-1)…Colorado had been the only NHL team to win every game in which it scored first…This marked the first defeat when leading after two periods as well (now 18-0-1).
* The Avs are 2-0-1 against the Wild this season.
POSTGAME QUOTES >
Wild Rally Stops Avs in Shootout
DENVER -- The Minnesota Wild rallied in the third period before defeating the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in a shootout Saturday at Pepsi Center.
Both Wild shooters, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu, scored against Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov in the tiebreaker. Wild goalie Josh Harding stopped the Avalanche's final two shooters, PA Parenteau and Ryan O'Reilly after Matt Duchene led off with a goal.
The Avalanche held onto third place in the Central Division with a 21-9-1 record and 43 points. The Wild have a 19-11-5 record and 43 points, and have played four more games.
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Hejda Returns, Mitchell To Play In 300th Game
Jan Hejda admitted that his knee injury Dec. 5 at Edmonton looked a lot worse than it really was.
Chasing the puck in the Avalanche zone during the first period of the game with the Oilers, the defenseman hit an edge on the ice and fell feet first into the right wing boards. Hejda immediately grabbed his leg and remained on the ice for several moments before Colorado head athletic trainer Matt Sokolowski and teammate Nate Gueninwere able to help him to the Avalanche locker room.
Just bad luck that I tripped a little bit right before the board," Hejda said.
It appeared as if Hejda might be out for weeks or even months, but the team reported soon after that he would just miss 10-14 days with a sprain.
Nine days after crashing into the wall, Hejda will make his return to the Avalanche's lineup and play in tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild.
"If it didn't feel good I wouldn't play tonight," Hejda said after morning skate. "It wasn't as bad as it looked on television, but right now I feel 100 percent."
Have a listen as Altitude Radio catches up with PA Parenteau, Jan Hejda and Avalanche coach Patrick Roy.
Avs fall to the Wild 2-1 in a shootout tonight. Marc Moser's highlights right here.
* The Colorado Avalanche opens a two-game homestand tonight against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.
* At 21-9-0, the Avs have equaled their most wins through 30 games in franchise history. The 2000-01 Avalanche and 1994-95 Nordiques also won 21 of their first 30 contests.
*Colorado's 42 points this year are its third-most after 30 games in club history.
AVALANCHE & WILD
* The Avalanche and Wild are meeting for the third time this season, after Colorado swept a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the Wild at the end of November.
* The Avs won 3-1 on Nov. 29 in St. Paul and 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 30 at Pepsi Center.
* These two division rivals will meet five times this year, three times here in Denver. The Avalanche and Wild will compete in the Central Division this year after meeting as Northwest Division foes for each of the last 12 seasons.
* Colorado is 2-0 versus Minnesota this year, 1-0 at home and 1-0 on the road.
* Colorado is 37-28-11 in 76 all-time meetings against the Wild.
* The Avs are 20-15-3 all-time at home versus the Wild and 17-13-8 on the road.
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Avs vs. Wild - Dec. 14
Avalanche Hosts Wild in Battle for Central Points
WILD (18-11-5) at AVALANCHE (21-9-0)
TV: Altitude; KTVK
Last 10: Minnesota 3-6-1; Colorado 6-4-0
Season series: Saturday's game is the third of five between the Wild and Avalanche this regular season. Colorado won the first two, sweeping a home-and-home set at the end of November, including a 3-2 shootout win on Nov. 30.
Big story: It might look like there's lots of time left in the schedule, but these teams are desperate for points in a quest to grab third place in the Central Division.
Minnesota and Colorado enter Saturday with the Avalanche one point ahead of the Wild, and with three of its next four games at home, the Avalanche will look to build on its lead. The Wild, meanwhile, in the midst of a stretch of seven of eight on the road, are trying to hang in the race.
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