8 P.M. at COLORADO • Pepsi Center • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild, which dropped the first two games of this three-game road trip to Anaheim and San Jose, who are a combined 23-1-5 at home, is 31-12-6 in its past 49 against the Avs and 12-2-3 in its past 17 in Denver, including last season's must-win finale to thrust it into the playoffs. On Nov. 30, Mikko Koivu scored with six seconds left to force overtime before the Wild fell in a shootout. At 21-9, the Avs have matched their franchise record for wins through the first 30 games of a season.
Players to watch: C Matt Duchene is coming off his 14th career 3-point game Thursday against Winnipeg. In a home-and-home against Minnesota two weeks ago, captain Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals and two assists. Former Gophers D Erik Johnson is third in the NHL with a plus-18. G Josh Harding is expected to start for Minnesota. He leads the NHL with a 1.52 goals-against average. D Jonas Brodin has six goals, tied for sixth among NHL defensemen. C Mikko Koivu has 15 goals and 38 points in 48 games against Colorado.
Numbers: The Wild has been outscored 14-4 and trailed at least 2-0 in each game during an 0-4-1 road skid. … The Wild has given up the first goal in eight consecutive road games. … The Avs are the only NHL team that has yet to suffer an overtime/shootout loss (5-0).
Injuries: Wild C Mikael Granlund (concussion) is out. Avalanche D Jan Hejda (knee) and D Ryan Wilson (back) are questionable. LW Alex Tanguay (knee) is out.