Colorado Avalanche (22-19-11) at Minnesota Wild (24-20-6)
|Date & Time||Saturday February 7, 2015, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -165 / Colorado Avalanche +149 --- Over/Under: 5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Minnesota Wild are hoping that their recent stretch of solid hockey is exactly what they need to really get them believing in making a run at that final playoff position in the Western Conference. Minnesota is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and currently on a four game winning streak after Tuesday night’s 3-0 shutout of the Chicago Blackhawks. Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker scored first period goals for the Wild and Mikael Granlund finished the scoring with his fifth of the season in the second period. Devan Dubnyk recorded the shutout, recording 24 saves and picking up his sixth victory since being acquired by the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on January 14th. Dubnyk has really only had one bad game since coming over in the trade and he’s been arguably the biggest key in giving the Wild the stability they desperately needed in goal to get themselves back in contention. This winning streak started with a trip to Western Canada that saw the Wild defeat the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks. Now they’re on a stretch of five out of six on home ice and now is as good a time as ever to really keep this run going. Minnesota is still having some trouble scoring goals, totaling just 10 during the streak, so that’s something that will have to improve. It would also be nice if the Wild could get some production from Thomas Vanek, their big off season acquisition. Vanek has been one of the biggest disappointments in the league this season, scoring just 10 goals and 31 points while compiling a -10 rating. This is a player who scored 59 points last season in just 65 games and had 27 goals and 68 points in his last full season with Buffalo in 2013-14. Needless to say this is not what the Wild anticipated when signing Vanek and they’re going to need more from him if they expect to stay in this race the next two months.
Their opponent on Saturday night will be the Colorado Avalanche who are coming off a 3-0 defeat on home ice to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. Colorado is in the same boat as the Wild in terms of battling for a playoff spot and Thursday’s effort was not a good one for fans of the club who are still clinging to hope. The two teams were scoreless until Jan Hejda’s interference penalty led to a power play goal for the Red Wings that proved to be all they needed in this one. Detroit would add two more goals late in the third period with the net empty. Colorado only trailed 1-0 but were only able to manage seven shots on goal in the final period. Detroit’s puck possession game really frustrated the Avalanche who just weren’t able to get the puck and when they did were not able to do too much with it. These two hockey clubs met in a back-to-back to start the season and the Wild absolutely dominated the Avalanche, outscoring them 8-0 in two consecutive shutouts.
These two teams will both probably fall shot of making the post season unless they go on some incredible run. Colorado and Minnesota are filled with flaws but right now the Wild are playing the better hockey of the two clubs.