Wild vs Avalanche preview, Game 1: #Imaginating

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The day is upon us, playoff hockey is back!

First off, how we got here: January 1st 2014, was a tale of two different times. Minnesota had lost six straight games and times were dark in Wilderness territory, hell I didn't even work here yet. Something clicked for the Wild after the new year and would win 14 of their next 20. Meanwhile in Denver, the Avs were riding high, literally because Marijuana was legalized. With no one aware of how good the Avs were, the true and only fans in Denver were watching yet another epic tease/fail of Peyton Manning winning a Superbowl. When the football season ended, they tried to rally up everyones spirit with this gem.

I first thought this was the Denver Pioneers. Is anyone in this video older than like 22? Regardless, my favorite workout/pump-up music was forever ruined. Gabriel Landeskog makes Jonas Brodin look like an elderly man. Whenever these guys hit puberty, look out. In all seriousness though, these kids can flat out play. You don't go from worst-first without some kind of change in the front-office. Its no secret that Patrick Roy has smacked this team in the right direction. Speaking of smacking, Semyon Varlamov is considered a favorite of Patrick Roy to win the Hart Trophy. Really... Varlamov? Am I the only one who thinks that's hilarious?

Now onto the game tonight, yes Colorado went 4-0-1 against Minnesota in the REGULAR SEASON. Those kiddos may have gotten the best of us, but this is the big time now. This was also well before the Bryz era arrived. The Wild had four goalies make 10 or more starts this season, but Bryz brings the most experience. Bryz went 7-1-3 with a 2.00 GAA, a .916 SV% and three shutouts in 11 starts with Minnesota. Some are wondering when the "real" Bryz will show his true colors this postseason. Well Bryz and Varlamov have damn near identical career numbers, so I wouldn't bank on it. Plus Bryz did shutout Colorado in game one and two in the '06 playoffs.

Most people are excited though to watch this special group of kiddos lead Colorado to another Cup. Yet i'm excited to watch Patrick Bordeleau and Cody McLeod who have spent over 100 minutes EACH in the sin-bin. Tsk, tsk. That's just more PP goals for Parise my friends. Minnesota has also killed off eleven straight Colorado power plays despite Colorado owning the 5th best power play this season.

The Wild has posted a 12-3-2 record in its last 17 games at Pepsi Center, dating back to Nov. 2008. Home ice? I dont think so. Minnesota and Colorado have played in one-goal games in nine of their 13 all-time playoff games, including eight of the last nine meetings. Five of those contests have gone to overtime. Oh overtime, some of the Wilds most memorable moments occurred in overtime against Colorado.

The lines have already been set by Minnesota. Granlund returns to the second line with Pommer and Moulson. Eric Haula filled in nicely when Granny went down, but he'll be 4th lining it along-side Veilleux and Cody McCormick. Sadly Dany Heatley will be in the press-box and so will Justin Fontaine. Colorado has this cute hashtag for the playoffs called: #WhyNotUs. Well you're team average age is about 15, you have two goaltenders (one former) that have been violent against women, and you have Erik Jonhson... That enough reasons right there. Minnesota will take this series in six games, although my heart tells me 5. Go Wild.

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