The Wild will vie for a 12th straight win on home ice Monday night when the takes on the Avalanche, and 3,00 fans will be at Xcel Energy Center to watch – the largest crowd the Wild has hosted this season.
"It'll be good to get a small amount of fans at least in the building," winger Nick Bjugstad said. "We're excited. No better fans than Minnesota fans. I know I'm biased, but I'm sure they'll be cheering tonight."
After going 2-1-1 on last week's road trip, the Wild will stick with the same lineup that finished off a sweep of Vegas on Saturday.
Forward Luke Johnson, who centered the fourth line, cleared waivers. Winger Mats Zuccarello remains sidelined with a lower-body injury and although winger Marcus Foligno (lower-body injury) is skating, a timeline for his return hasn't been set.
Winger Zach Parise did skate with the team on Monday morning after getting removed from the NHL's COVID protocols over the weekend, but Parise won't play against Colorado.
"We wanted him to get a good skate today, and then we'll move forward," coach Dean Evason said. "I don't think Zach's fitness is a problem. He's in phenomenal shape. We just made the choice to stay with the same lineup here tonight."
This will be the first time the Wild has matched up against the Avalanche since a pair of blowout losses last month in Colorado. The Wild has improved since then, but the Avalanche hasn't slowed down – carrying a 14-game point streak into this game.
"We talk about forgetting what's happened in the past, but people and hockey players in particular don't forget," Evason said. "When you have a situation like we had there, we did not play well. So, we are looking to play a heck of a lot better than we did then."
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Kirill Kaprizov
Kevin Fiala-Victor Rask-Nick Bonino
Marcus Johansson-Ryan Hartman-Nick Bjugstad
Kyle Rau-Luke Johnson-Nick Bjugstad
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Ian Cole
13-3: Record for the Wild at home this season.
5-0-1: Run for goaltender Cam Talbot over his last six games.
3: Goals for rookie Kirill Kaprizov over his past three games, which is tied for the longest goal streak on the Wild this season.
5: Assists for winger Kevin Fiala during a season-high five-game point streak.
8: Goals by center Joel Eriksson Ek this season in the third period.
About the Avalanche:
Colorado is cruising, having won four in a row to extend its point streak to 14 games – the longest in the NHL this season. Not only does the Avalanche lead the league in goals-per-game (3.57), but the team also has the best goals-against-per-game at 2.22. Ten different Colorado players have at least 20 points, the most in the league, and six have 10-plus goals (which is tied for first). The Avalanche has scored the first goal of the game a league-high 27 times. When scoring first, Colorado is 22-3-2.