Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche - 4/21/14
Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8) at Minnesota Wild (43-27-12)
NHL Hockey: Monday, April 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Xcel Energy Center)
The Line: Minnesota Wild -124 / Colorado Avalanche +113 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The Avalanche look to take a commanding lead in their series with the Wild as the landscape shifts to Minnesota for the next two contests.
The Colorado Avalanche had some shaky moment in each of their first two playoff games to open up their series against the Wild but the resilient bunch that thrives on its youth has a 2-0 series lead and have just two victories to claim in order to move on to the Western Conference semi-finals. The Avs fought off a 4-2 third period deficit in the series opener before claiming an overtime victory and their game two win came down to the wire as well with a bizarre scene involving a disallowed empty netter and a short handed tally from the Wild with little time remaining. Nonetheless, the Avs are feeling comfortable and head to the road where they were very strong this season but they know that Minnesota will be in desperation mode. Semyon Varlamov continues to be the workhorse in the Colorado crease and he will face off against Ilya Bryzgalov who was benched in favour of Darcy Kuemper in the late going of Saturday night’s loss.
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The Wild have had two heartbreaking defeats and find themselves in a 2-0 hole heading back to the Xcel Energy Center where they’re hoping some home cooking will serve them right. Minnesota is a good team that was right in the mix in the Western Conference all season long but I am still scratching my head as to why the front office didn’t make a stronger push to acquire a more substantial goaltending option as it is clear that is the team’s weakest link. Bryzgalov has shown he can win in this league but his play in the last couple of seasons has been suspect at best and it is hard to believe they will prevail against a team like Colorado without getting some help from the back end. Minnesota needs to grab both games here and instill some confidence in their lineup and while the Avs were strong on the road this season the Wild were even more impressive at home. While the Avalanche are getting a ton of value here and will be a popular pick I think that Minnesota makes a series of this thing as they’ve been competitive in both contests and I think this one goes in their favour.