DENVER – The break is over, and the Wild is back to business.
After a three-day layoff for the holidays, the team resumes its season Friday with a Central Division matchup against the Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
“I think we had such a good run there and [now] kind of bouncing back and forth a little bit in between, we want to get back and put a little streak together here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “We’ve gotten close, but we obviously want to get into that playoff spot. This is a good opportunity. We got a couple real good challenges coming up. I think it can kind of catapult us a little bit going forward if we can get sone wins here in the next three, four games.”
Before pausing, the Wild extinguished the Flames 3-0 at home – a performance that included a 22-save shutout for Dubnyk, his first of the season. The team will use the same lineup Friday after recalling center Nico Sturm from the American Hockey League.
Dubnyk also faced Colorado in the second game of the season, making 28 saves in a 4-2 loss.
“You gotta skate,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Skating and checking will create opportunities to score. When we played them and we won 3-2 in our building [on Nov.21], that’s all we did was check, check, check and it created opportunities for us. I don’t know if there’s a secret to beating them, but that’s the secret for us to be successful.”
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Joel Eriksson Ek-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Nico Sturm-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Victor Rask-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Carson Soucy
Brad Hunt-Matt Dumba
1-1: Record for the Wild vs. the Avalanche so far this season.
4: Points for defenseman Ryan Suter, including three assists, in those games.
.924: Save percentage for goalie Devan Dubnyk over 35 career starts. Colorado.
10: Points for center Eric Staal in his last seven games.
2-8-1: Record for the Wild against the Central Division.
About the Avalanche:
Colorado occupies the second seed in the Central Division with 49 points, eight ahead of the Wild. Before the break, the Avalanche toppled the Golden Knights 7-3 to snap a two-game slide. Overall, the Avalanche is 4-3-1 in its last eight. Center Nathan MacKinnon leads the team in goals (21) and points (55). Rookie phenom Cale Makar, who’s been out the past eight games with an upper-body injury, is expected to return against the Wild.