It's official, the Minnesota Wild will face off against the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round of the playoffs. It's been a long and winding road and the list of potential first round opponents has jumped from the St. Louis Blues to the Anaheim Ducks, even the San Jose Sharks were on the list. We've spun the wheel and landed the Colorado Avalanche thanks in large part to the Blues struggles down the stretch.
The Wild have met the Avalanche twice in the post-season, the first time coming in their magical playoff run in 2003. The Wild were down in the 2003 series 3 games to 1 and came back in one of the more memorable playoff performances in league history to beat the Avalanche in 7 games and send Patrick Roy into retirement.
Their next meeting came in 2008 when the Wild won the Northwest Division and the results were not nearly as splendid for the Wild. The Wild would lose this series in 6 games to the Avalanche and then fail to make the playoffs for the next 5 seasons after this.
The Colorado Avalanche clinched the Central Division this afternoon when the St. Louis Blues lost to the Detroit Red Wings. The Av's, who finished 29th in the league last season are riding on the backs of stellar performances from Semyon Varlamov between the pipes, the young guns Gabriel Landeskog and rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon as well as veteran winger Paul Stastny. Matt Duchene has also been a huge part of the Av's season but will likely miss the opening round of the playoffs with a MCL injury.
Of all the draws the Wild could have got to open the playoffs the Av's are definitely on the short list of teams we would like to meet. It's not to say this round will be easy, these two teams have a short history in the playoffs and Patrick Roy will be seeking revenge from behind the bench for Andrew Brunette sending him into retirement in 2003. If the Wild can stick to their game and figure out a way to solve Varlamov this series could be very interesting.
The playoffs kick off this Wednesday but due to a scheduling conflict at the Pepsi Center in Denver the Wild and Avalanche will likely kick off their series on Thursday. The schedule will be announced after all of today's games finish later tonight. Thoughts on the upcoming playoffs series against the Avs Wilderness? Good? Bad? Impartial?
Official schedule released by the Wild as follows
2014 Wild Playoff presenting partners are Xcel Energy, SuperAmerica, Wells Fargo and Treasure Island.
Round 1 Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule (all times central)
Game 1 – Thursday, 4/17, Minnesota at Colorado, 8:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday, 4/19, Minnesota at Colorado, 8:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday, 4/21, Colorado at Minnesota, 6:00 p.m.
Game 4 – Thursday, 4/24, Colorado at Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Saturday, 4/26, Minnesota at Colorado, TBA (if necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, 4/28, Colorado at Minnesota, TBA (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, 4/30, Minnesota at Colorado, TBA (if necessary)