NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (18-11-5) at Colorado Avalanche (21-9-0), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild try to win for the first time in their past six contests on the road Saturday night as they conclude a three- game swing versus the Colorado Avalanche.
The Wild have not won on the road since Nov. 23, going on an 0-4-1 rut that includes a 3-2 shootout setback in Colorado on Nov. 30.
That victory gave the Avalanche a sweep of the home-and-home set as they had won in Denver by a 3-1 margin a day earlier.
Minnesota went 4-0-1 in five meetings with the Avs last season before dropping the first two of five scheduled encounters this season. The Wild have still won nine of their last 12 in Colorado.
They hope to avenge that earlier loss and salvage the finale of this trip following setbacks in Anaheim and San Jose. The Wild were downed 3-1 by the Sharks, who went 3-for-7 on the power play.
That didn't sit well with Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo, who felt his club took far more penalties than it deserved.
"It must be nice to draw penalties like that, when the other team goes stick on puck and you just kind of hold your head," said Yeo. "Make sure you look at the first penalty because to me that's embarrassing. I guess we've got to ask our payers to embellish more.
"This is why I'm (ticked) off because our guys battled hard tonight. We didn't do enough, there's no question. We were in the box too much. We didn't finish well enough. Penalty kill, it doesn't matter how many times they dive, we have to make sure we kill them off. Or embellish. I shouldn't say just dive."
Jonas Brodin had Minnesota's lone goal, with his shot hitting off Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart and in with 7:24 to go in regulation. Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves.
Josh Harding could start tonight for the Wild and it would be his third versus the Avs this season. He has yielded four goals on 45 shots in the two previous meetings and is 3-3-2 against Colorado in his career with a 2.01 goals against average in 10 games (8 starts).
The Avalanche had lost three of four before rallying for a 4-3 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Matt Duchene sparked the offense with two goals and an assist before notching a tally in the shootout.
P.A. Parenteau also scored in the tiebreaker and Semyon Varlamov stopped both skaters he faced after turning aside 34 shots through overtime.
Ryan O'Reilly notched a goal and an assist for Colorado, which bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit to halt a two-game skid.
"We got behind the eight-ball early, but it shows what a resilient and mature group we have to come out with two points," said Duchene, who scored for the first time in eight games since returning from an oblique injury.
O'Reilly, meanwhile, snapped an eight-game goal drought.
Varlamov is 5-4-0 with a 2.08 GAA in his career versus the Avalanche. He started the back end of the home-and-home set, making 35 saves in Colorado.
12/14 10:25:52 ET