Colorado Avalanche (52-22-8) at Minnesota Wild (43-27-12)
|Date & Time||Monday April 28, 2014, 9:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Minnesota Wild -125 / Colorado Avalanche +105 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Wild look to force a decisive game seven with a victory at home on Monday while the regular season Western Conference champs from Anaheim look to advance to the second round.
The Colorado Avalanche have been a resilient bunch all season long and have really epitomized the team game as they never quit and can rely on anybody to step up at both ends of the rink. That mentality has carried over to the postseason as the Avs have clawed their way out of deep holes only to come back and steal a win which is exactly what we saw out of them on Saturday night. The Avalanche were down a goal late in the third period and committed a very inopportune penalty as captain Gabriel Landeskog gave Darcy Kuemper a snow shower resulting in an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that looked as though it would ice things for the Wild. However, the Avs battled through and then as they have been known to do they pulled the goalie with just over two minutes remaining in the final frame and buried the game tying goal and subsequently the overtime winner as well. The Avalanche can wrap things up on the road on Monday but they know that the Wild will be playing desperate hockey and will have the crowd on their side.
The Wild looked poised to take the series edge with a victory on Saturday night but they let it slip from their grasp which could ultimately be the turning point heading back to Minnesota. The Wild continue to be underrated while in my opinion the Avalanche continue to be overrated but this series has been spectacular thus far as have a number of other matchups and I fully expect to see this one go the distance as these two teams are just so evenly matched. Semyon Varlamov has had the edge in goal this series but he has also faced way more shots than the combination of Kuemper and Ilya Bryzgalov but either way I think the Colorado net minder gives his team a better chance to win although Kuemper has been playing much better of late. The Xcel Energy Center is going to be raucous tonight as the Minnesota market is one of the most passionate in the league and they certainly know how to get behind their team and while the value lies with the visitors I really think Minnesota gets it done here and sends this back to Denver.