NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, December 9th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (13-13-3) at Colorado Avalanche (17-9-6), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Craig Anderson started 27 of the Colorado Avalanche's first
29 games, but a neck injury has allowed Peter Budaj to show he is still
capable of backstopping some wins.
Budaj could make his fourth straight start for Colorado when the team opens
a five-game homestand tonight versus the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.
Anderson is 14-7-5 with a 2.65 goals-against average in his first season with
the Avalanche, but remains day-to-day due to a neck ailment suffered last
Wednesday versus his former club, the Florida Panthers.
Budaj is 2-1-0 with a 1.34 GAA in the three games Anderson has missed and is
coming off a 4-0 blanking of the St. Louis Blues on Monday, which gave the 27-
year-old his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career.
The Avalanche netminder made 35 saves, while Chris Stewart chipped in with two
goals and an assist to help his team end a five-game road trip with a 3-1-1
"Any time you can go 3-1-1 on a road trip, these are games and points that are
going to pay off down the line," said Stewart.
Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny also scored in the victory, while Wojtek Wolski
posted three assists to run his point streak to seven games. He has two goals
and eight helpers over the run.
Duchene, meanwhile, has scored six goals in his last six games, and the third
overall pick of the 2009 draft is tied for second among NHL rookies with nine
goals and 19 assists.
The Avalanche, one point up on the Calgary Flames for first place in the
Northwest Division, are 7-2-2 as the host this year, but those four losses
have come in their last five games at Pepsi Center.
While Colorado was able to keep its opponent off the board last time out,
Minnesota was unable to find the back of the net in Monday's 2-0 setback in
Phoenix that ended the team's season-high five-game winning streak.
The Wild fired 28 shots at the Coyotes' Ilya Bryzgalov, while Niklas Backstrom
made 29 saves for Minnesota. The Wild went 0-for-6 on the power play after
scoring six times on 17 chances with the man advantage over their win streak.
"We weren't our sharpest, but we weren't our worst either," said Wild forward
Antti Miettinen. "I think we made it tougher for ourselves with some turnovers
or not playing the puck deep."
The Wild were without both Cal Clutterbuck and Derek Boogaard due to flu-like
symptoms, and both players are questionable for tonight.
Minnesota has now split the first two games of a five-game road trip and is
just 4-10-2 as the guest this year.
Backstrom was 9-1-0 versus Phoenix prior to this season, but has lost both of
his meetings with the club this year. He will hope that trend doesn't follow
him to Colorado, a team he is 13-2-2 with a 2.11 GAA against. That includes a
win in two starts versus the Avs this year.
The Wild have won all three of their games versus the Avalanche this year,
taking a pair of 3-2 shootouts in the process. The Wild, who have won four
straight and six of their last seven versus the Avs, notched one of those
shootout wins in Colorado on November 28 to complete a home-and-home sweep.
Budaj is 8-8-3 with a 2.71 GAA in his career versus the Wild, but has yet to
face them this year.
12/09 10:46:10 ET