DENVER – Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen will make a fifth straight start Wednesday when the Wild finishes up a five-game road trip at Colorado.
During the Wild's three-game win streak, Kahkonen has a .948 save percentage and 1.34 goals-against average.
"You have a skill set that's allowed you to play in the National Hockey League. You advance that skill set by your work ethic, by your attitude, by your competitiveness, and he has all of those," coach Dean Evason said of Kahkonen. "He knows he can play in the National Hockey League and when he obviously battles and competes as he does each and every night, he gives our hockey club an opportunity to win."
Overall, Kahkonen is 4-1 with a .930 save percentage and 1.82 goals-against average in five road starts this season. Cam Talbot, who has yet to play since getting cleared from the NHL's COVID protocols last week, will back up for a second consecutive game.
"Cam did not say he's not ready," Evason said. "It was just a group decision that Kahkonen plays tonight, and we'll evaluate as we always do going forward."
The Wild will stick with the same lineup, as forward Marcus Johansson will miss a third straight game with an upper-body injury.
"Just a real good opportunity to get him healed right up before we get him back in the lineup as opposed to having something keep continually going sideways on him," Evason said. "It's definitely day-to-day, for sure."
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Kevin Fiala
Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Ryan Hartman-Marcus Foligno
Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino-Nick Bjugstad
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
3: Points for Rask Monday in Anaheim, which tied his career high.
9-1: Record for the Wild when it scores at least three goals.
14: Goals for the Wild since Feb.18, the most in the NHL.
4: Points for center Ryan Hartman during a career-long three-game point streak.
About the Avalanche:
Since getting back in action after getting shut down by the NHL, the Avalanche is 2-2. Twice in those four games Colorado has been shut out – including its most recent outing (3-0 loss to Vegas on Monday). Dating back to a Jan.31 matchup with the Wild, the Avalanche is 0-for-16 on the power play. Still, the team is in a playoff position. At 9-5-1, the Avalanche is third in the West Division.https://www.startribune.com/answering-the-four-biggest-questions-in-minnesota-sports/600026813/