NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, April 6th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (44-28-9) at Colorado Avalanche (43-31-7), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A preview of a potential opening-round playoff series is on
tap today, as the Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild at the Pepsi
Center in the final regular-season test for both clubs.
The Wild are the champions of the Northwest Division for the first time in
franchise history and are locked into the third seed in the Western
Colorado is currently seventh in the West and just one point behind Calgary,
which has completed its regular season. The Avalanche need just a point in
today's test to take over the sixth seed from the Flames. Colorado will face
Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs if it finishes sixth and San
Jose if it stays in the seventh spot.
The Wild have won four straight games and clinched the division title in their
last outing, as they downed visiting Calgary on Thursday. Marian Gaborik
scored twice in the third period to boost Minnesota over the Flames, 3-1, at
Xcel Energy Center.
Gaborik had a three-point night and Todd Fedoruk also scored for Minnesota,
Pavol Demitra added a pair of assists, while Niklas Backstrom made 26 saves,
and Wild coach Jacques Lemaire recorded his 500th career victory.
Minnesota has 97 points this year and despite winning its first Northwest
title will fall short of the franchise-record 104 points posted last season.
The Wild are in the postseason for the third straight year and for the fourth
time in five seasons.
The Wild are 19-17-4 as the visiting team this year and have dropped five of
their last six road tests.
The Avalanche have won four of their last five games and last played on
Tuesday, when they notched an important win in Vancouver. Peter Forsberg had a
goal and an assist, as Colorado scored four straight goals to roar past the
Canucks, 4-2, and clinch a playoff spot.
Forsberg's goal was his first since returning to the Avs in the beginning of
March, and he now has 11 points in eight games this season.
Milan Hejduk also notched a goal and a helper for the Avalanche. John-Michael
Liles and Wojtek Wolski each tallied for the Avs, while Joe Sakic and Andrew
Brunette each added a pair of assists. Jose Theodore made 27 saves to earn the
The Avalanche have a strong 26-12-2 record in Denver this year and have won
three straight and eight of their last nine home games.
Minnesota has gone 5-2 against the Avalanche this season and has won four
straight in the process. The Wild have won eight of the last 11 meetings
overall, but they have also dropped eight of 12 in Denver.
04/06 10:50:06 ET