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Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8
Colorado
Avalanche
44-31-7

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Wild-Avalanche Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Associated Press

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Wild-Avalanche Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche look to continue their home dominance of the Northwest Division rival Minnesota Wild on Thursday when they continue a season-high five-game homestand.

Colorado is 12-2-0 with two ties in 16 meetings with Minnesota at the Pepsi Center, including five victories in the last six contests there.

The Avalanche (25-21-4) have won the last three overall meetings with the Wild (27-21-4), including a 4-1 victory in Denver on Oct. 29. They won 2-1 in a shootout in each of the last two matchups, both in St. Paul.

Colorado started its homestand with a 4-3 win over Nashville - the team with the most points in the NHL - on Tuesday. Peter Budaj made 34 saves and shut down the Predators during a four-minute third-period penalty kill to lead the Avs.

"Peter made three stops that were out of nowhere," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "He was the reason we got through it."

The 24-year-old goaltender finished January with a 7-2-2 mark and 2.77 goals-against average, while displacing 2002 Vezina and Hart Trophy winner Jose Theodore as the team's starter.

Budaj looks to continue his stellar play and win his third consecutive game against the Wild after holding them to one goal in each of the last two contests.

Colorado leading scorer Joe Sakic had two assists Tuesday to give him 55 points on the season. He is the franchise's all-time scoring leader against the Wild with 29 points in 30 games, but has managed only one goal in four contests against them this season.

Minnesota missed three breakaways Tuesday but scored four times in the third period en route to its fifth win in six road games, 5-2 over St. Louis. Before their current road success, the Wild had a franchise-record, 11-game winless streak away from home.

"I told our players they've got to be doing something good because they beat big teams: Anaheim, Detroit, San Jose, Buffalo," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "When we didn't get the goals, I was scared because they were coming, they were coming, they were coming.

"It's just a matter of working a little harder. That's what we've been missing."

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Pavol Demitra had two goals each Tuesday for the Wild.

Demitra's pair snapped a season-high nine-game goal drought. The right wing has 13 goals in 43 games with Minnesota after scoring 25 in 58 contests for Los Angeles in an injury-filled 2005-06 season.

Demitra, who has missed nine games this season because of a concussion and an upper-body injury, has three points in four meetings with the Avs in 2006-07.

Minnesota is in eighth place in the West, four points ahead of Colorado for the final playoff berth in the conference. These teams meet three more times this season, with two matchups coming at the Pepsi Center.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '07 MIN 1 at COL 2 P. Stastny
Mar 11 '07 COL 2 at MIN 3 - OT B. Burns
Feb 22 '07 MIN 4 at COL 3 M. Koivu
Feb 01 '07 MIN 5 at COL 3 M. Gaborik
Jan 06 '07 COL 2 at MIN 1 - SO M. Hejduk
Nov 18 '06 COL 2 at MIN 1 - SO J. Sakic
Oct 29 '06 MIN 1 at COL 4 T. Arnason
Oct 05 '06 COL 2 at MIN 3 - OT T. White
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