Avs take on surging Wild

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Colorado Avalanche hope to make up some ground in
the playoff race Saturday night when they visit the streaking Minnesota Wild.

The Avs are four points back of the Vancouver Canucks for the second wild card
position in the Western Conference, with the Winnipeg Jets two points up on
the Canucks. Colorado also will visit Winnipeg on Sunday after trying to hold
off Minnesota, which has only one fewer point than the Avs.

Colorado had a two-game overall winning streak and four-game run at home
halted with Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Semyon Varlamov made
26 saves and yielded just one goal, with Detroit scoring twice into an empty
net after Varlamov was pulled with 3:05 to play.

The Avs fell to 9-4-3 in their past 16 games.

“We played solid. I mean, it’s still no excuse, we have to find ways to find
the back of the net,” said Avs forward Alex Tanguay. “All we needed was one,
you know, they got the last two on an empty net so basically it was a 1-0 game
until then. We had our chances. Certainly, (it was) very frustrating but they
are a good team, they played a good game too.”

Defenseman Tyson Barrie missed the game with a hip injury and his status for
tonight’s game is unknown.

The Wild are looking to leap past the Avalanche and record their longest
winning streak of the season tonight. Minnesota matched its previous best of
four straight victories with Tuesday’s 3-0 blanking of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Devan Dubnyk turned away 24 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and
third in eight games since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes. In those
eight games with the Wild, he has gone 6-1-0 with a 1.48 goals against average
and .943 save percentage.

“Coming in mid-season is always an interesting thing,” said Dubnyk, who has 12
career shutouts. “It feels right for me to be here and we’ll keep working at
it and see how things go moving forward.”

Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist while Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund
also scored for the Wild.

These two clubs have not met since the Wild shut out the Avalanche in a home-
and-home series to begin the season. Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves in a 5-0 home
win on Oct. 9, then stopped all 30 shots fired his way two days later in
Colorado for a 3-0 triumph.