Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8)
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 30, 2014, 9:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Colorado Avalanche -134 / Minnesota Wild +122 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Avalanche and Wild wrap up their first round series in Denver on Wednesday night with a date with the Chicago Blackhawks at stake.
The Wild head into Wednesday night’s game seven finale with the Avalanche coming off their best game of the playoffs and they’ll hope to carry that momentum over into tonight’s do or die show down. Minnesota were the heavy underdogs coming into this series based largely on their point differential with the Avalanche but these teams are a lot closer than people think and indicated by this series going the distance and they have a very good shot at winning tonight. The mismatch on the ice for the Wild was supposed to be in goal as Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov is a nominee for the Vezina Trophy and the duo of Darcy Kuemper and Ilya Bryzgalov wasn’t scaring anybody and while the latter was very shaky in his two starts the Wild have been soaring ever since Kuemper took over. Minnesota has more playoff experience than their counterparts but the Avs are considered the more talented team and now that they have Matt Duchene back in the lineup the Wild know they’ll have to have a special effort if they’re going to win.
The Avalanche have been a very nice story this season as they have gone from league basement dwellers to Central division champions in just over a year and are now a win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs for a show down with the defending Cup champs. Colorado has been up and down so far in this series as they haven’t played very well away from home but have rebounded nicely in Denver in what has been a see-saw type series that very few expected. Patrick Roy has a ton of playoff experience but that came as a goaltender with the team and not as the bench boss as this is his first year at the helm and while he has done a great job it might be a little unrealistic to expect a deep playoff run in the team’s first season. As mentioned, Varlamov is the x-factor in this series as he has been one of the league’s best goalies this season and if he can put up another strong effort in this one than he could single handily lead the Avs into the second round. However, Varlamov has played well in this series but still has three losses to his name as the Avs just give up a ton of shots and in a game seven setting that to me is destined for overtime I lean towards the more experienced club and that is Minnesota. The recurring nightmare comes back for Patrick Roy as his career ended in the opening round of the playoffs at home against the Wild in a game seven. Spooky.