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Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche: Game 37

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Minnesota Wild (20-11-5) vs Colorado Avalanche (18-17-1)

Xcel Energy Center @ 5:00 PM CDTTelevision: FSN PLUS
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Colorado perspective, check out Mile High Hockey

Minnesota Wild Colorado Avalanche

Cal Cluttercuk - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Pierre-Marc Bouchard -
Matt Cullen - Jarod Palmer
Darroll Powe - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Colton Gillies - Warren Peters - Brad Staubitz

Jared Spurgeon - Marco Scandella
Justin Falk - Nick Schultz
Mike Lundin - Marek Zidlicky

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Matt Duchene - Paul Stastny - Daniel Winnik
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Milan Hejduk
Brad Malone - Jay McClement - T.J. Galiardi
Kevin Prter - David Van Der Dulik - Cody McLeod

Jan Hejda - Ryan O`Byrne
Shane O`Brien - Erik Johnson
Matt Hunwick - Stefan Elliott

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Back in action tonight, Avalanche in town. What could be better. Oh. Wait. Almost anything.

If ever there was a game the two teams would want to be scheduled for this particular day on the schedule, this is it. Neither of these teams ever start well against each other, so that should give both sides all the time they need to get back into the swing of things.

The Wild, as you all know by now, and mired in a rut so deep they need a special forces operation to climb down and save them. Six straight losses, just two points out of the last possible twelve. Not a great stretch of hockey by any means. Blame injuries, blame regression, say it always should have been this way. Whatever the reasoning, the Wild are in a bad place right now and need to find a way out of it.

The return of Mikko Koivu tonight should be a boost. Emphasis on should. Whether or not that is the case will be the story of the night. Since he fell out of the lineup, things have gone from bad to worse. It happened last year, too. Why they continue to wait for him is completely unknown, but they do. Tonight, they get what they were waiting for.

Clayton Stoner will not play after coming up injured in the Edmonton game. From reports, sounds as though Greg Zanon is scratched yet again. The question there is: why? Is he really not a viable option, or are they making sure he stays healthy while they shop him? We likely don't get to know that.

Colton Gillies gets back in the game after been giving a chance to "reset." How he plays will be interesting. He has a bit to prove to his coach, and would be great to see him do just that. Jarod Palmer gets some skilled line time as he skates with Cullen and Bouchard. That could be fun to see. Finally, the Powe - Brodziak - Johnson line gets reunited, hopefully bringing back some of the dominance they showed earlier this season.

The Avs come in having won four in a row, and having a bit of steam behind them. They typically play well against the Wild, even when the Avs aren't very good. These two teams are intimately familiar with each other, and at times the games get chippy.

Should be an interesting matchup tonight. And by "interesting," I mean... probably not at all.

We also have Word Juniors games on tap with Canada vs Finland at 2:30, and US vs Denmark at 7. Stop by and watch with us. Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle... you can watch them all.

Final note, as detailed out on Wild.com, today's game will be on FSN PLUS, not regular FSN. Please follow the link above the lineups to find the channel on your provider.

Five Questions:

  1. Is Koivu the spark the Wild needed?
  2. Can the slide stop at six?
  3. Does Gillies respond to his benching?
  4. Will the third line bring the heat?
  5. How does Palmer look on a skilled line?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game: