Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 26, 2014, 9:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Colorado Avalanche -137 / Minnesota Wild +124 --- Over/Under: 5
The Avalanche look to reclaim momentum and the series lead as the scene shifts back to the Mile High City for a pivotal game five.
The Wild shook off two losses on the road to start the series with a couple of clutch victories in Minnesota to even the score and now as the series shifts to a first to two wins situation they can put themselves in a spot where they can clinch the series back on home ice. Minnesota is typically a very strong team on home ice so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that they were able to win back to back games but if they are going to win this series they need to find a way to get it done on the road. Minnesota is a very strong team defensively and they have given new starter Darcy Kuemper plenty of help but the Wild goaltender deserves a lot of credit as his play has brought his team back into contention in this series. Minny was competitive in their two losses in Colorado but they know that tonight is a huge game for both teams and that the home side will be out to make a statement.
Colorado has enjoyed a renaissance season thanks in large part to their new management group and they selection of rookie sensation Nathan Mackinnon but perhaps the biggest change in the Avalanche game and a huge reason why they won the Central division has been the play of Semyon Varlamov. The former Washington Capitals net minder was named one of the three nominees for the Vezina Trophy and has a great shot at winning thanks to his franchise record in victories that surpassed current head coach Patrick Roy. Varlamov has been brilliant in this series as well as the Wild have badly outshot the Avs over the last three games and if not for the play of their goaltender things could have been blown way open. I predicted Minnesota to win this series and to me they have been the better team through four games but I also expect it to go the distance and in that case I have the Avalanche taking this contest and keeping the trend of home ice winners afloat.