Series (Game 6 of 6)

Minnesota leads 5-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 21st
Game 2: Friday, November 27th
Game 3: Saturday, November 28th
Game 4: Wednesday, December 9th
Game 5: Monday, December 21st
Game 6: Thursday, January 28th

Wild 1

(27-23-4, 58 pts)

Avalanche 0

(30-16-6, 66 pts)

9:00 PM ET, January 28, 2010

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
MIN 0 0 11
COL 0 0 00

J. Harding (Wild - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Havlat (Wild - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. Anderson (Avalanche - G): Saves: 25, Save Pct.: .962

Wild-Avalanche Preview


The Colorado Avalanche are playing some of their best hockey of the season. It might take that to defeat the Minnesota Wild.

Colorado looks to win its seventh straight, and close out a perfect homestand Thursday night when it faces Minnesota in the final regular-season matchup between the Northwest Division rivals.

Sunday's 4-0 victory over Dallas gave the Avalanche 30 wins in 51 games, their fewest since the 2000-01 Stanley Cup champion team did so in 47 contests.

Another victory would cap a 5-0-0 homestand, and give Colorado (30-15-6) its longest winning streak since an eight-game run Dec. 31, 2005-Jan. 17, 2006.

The Avalanche, though, have dropped four of five to the Wild (26-23-4) this season, including both matchups at the Pepsi Center.

Colorado snapped a five-game slide to Minnesota in the teams' most recent meeting -- a 4-3 win in St. Paul on Dec. 21. It was the Avalanche's second victory in regulation against the Wild in the previous 16 regular-season matchups.

Although there are more than 10 weeks remaining in the regular season, a scheduling quirk has these two clubs about to close out their series.

"Our schedule has been kind of strange this year," Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles told the team's official Web site. "But Minny always seems to play us very tough and it always seems to be a close game. And it's going to be an important one. Any time you get into those divisional games those two points are huge."

Colorado, which trails Vancouver by two points for the division lead, has earned two points in each of its last six games thanks in large part to the play of Craig Anderson, who has a 1.14 goals-against average while starting each of those contests.

"It's something that at the end of the year, I can look back and say, 'Yeah that was a good stretch,'" said Anderson, who is 4-0-0 with two shutouts and a 0.50 GAA in his last four games in Denver. "But for me, it's just about staying focused and worrying about the next game and getting ready for that. Because you're only as good as your next game."

Anderson is 1-1-2 with a 2.65 GAA versus the Wild this season.

Niklas Backstrom has fared far better, going 14-3-2 with a 2.10 GAA in 19 career starts versus Colorado. Backstrom, though, did not practice Tuesday due a minor back injury and did not play Wednesday when Josh Harding made 26 saves in a 5-2 victory over Detroit.

If Harding starts again, he'll look for his second straight win in Colorado. He made 20 saves and stopped both attempts in the tiebreaker in the Wild's 3-2 road victory Nov. 28.

Minnesota has lost five straight away from home, but has won four of five in Denver, posting a 1-0 victory in its last visit there Dec. 9.

Antti Miettinen, who scored in that matchup, needs one goal to set a career high (16). He found the back of the net twice in the first period Wednesday and has four goals and two assists in his last four games.

Avs center and US Olympian Paul Stastny looks for his first seven-game point streak since the first seven contests of 2008-09. Stastny, who has two goals and six assists during his current run, has seven goals and 11 assists in his last 19 games versus Minnesota.