DENVER – After sweeping a five-game homestand in St. Paul, the Wild will find out if that momentum made the trip to Denver when the team takes on the Avalanche Thursday night at Ball Arena – the first of two in a row at Colorado.
Defenseman Brad Hunt will draw in for Carson Soucy, who was suspended Wednesday one game for charging Arizona's Conor Garland in the 3-0 win on Tuesday.
Cam Talbot will get the start in net for the Wild even though Kaapo Kahkonen made 31 saves for the shutout Tuesday to record his ninth straight victory.
"We debated it, for sure," coach Dean Evason said of the goaltending decision.
Injured forward Marcus Johansson didn't travel to Denver, but Evason believes Johansson could be available next week. Johansson has missed the last 14 games with an upper-body injury.
"We felt that he was better off getting really good work back home," Evason said.
The last time these two teams faced off was when the Wild was on its six-game win streak, shrugging off the Avalanche 6-2 on Feb.24.
Since that loss, Colorado has dropped only three games – one of which came in overtime.
"We have a do a good job of getting the heck out of our defensive zone," Evason said. "I think they lead the league in possession in the offensive zone. So, when we can dislodge pucks and get going the other way, that's what we have to do clearly.
"And then once we get down into their zone, we want to make them play as much defense as they can so that maybe they don't have enough energy to play offense."
Jordan Greenway-Ryan Hartman-Kevin Fiala
Kirill Kaprizov-Victor Rask-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Nick Bjugstad
Nico Sturm-Nick Bonino-Luke Johnson
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Ian Cole-Brad Hunt
8-5-1: Record for the Wild on the road this season.
12-2-2: Run by the Wild since Feb.18.
37: Points for the Wild after 27 games, which ties the franchise record for most points through 27 games.
30: Goals by the Wild in the first period.
.918: Save percentage by Wild goalies.
About the Avalanche:
Colorado is only one point behind the Wild in the West Division, sitting in third with 36 points. Like the Wild, the Avalanche carries a win streak into this matchup – having won four in a row. All those victories have come at home, with Colorado in the midst of a nine-game homestand. Overall, the Avalanche is 10-4-1 at Ball Arena. The team is coming off a 8-4 rout of the Ducks on Tuesday, the second time this season the Avalanche has scored a season-high eight goals in a game.