The Wild and Avalanche meet for the second time this season on Saturday night. Minnesota looks to continue on their winning streak, while the Avalanche are trying to start a new winning streak. I believe we are in store for another tight Central Division battle.
Colorado has started out the season 6-2-2, which has them in second place of the Central Division. The Avalanche lost their last game to the Lightning but were on a three-game winning streak before that. Colorado has had a really solid offense to begin the season.
Minnesota has started out the new season 5-2-2, which has earned them the fifth-place spot in the Central. The Wild are currently riding a four-game winning streak. In the winning streak, Minnesota has beaten the Los Angeles Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes. The Wild are hot right now and it will take a good game for Colorado to slow them down.
The Central Division is really close right now. This means that every point for these two teams matter and with the ability to deny another division rival some points just makes this game so much more intriguing. Both teams want to put themselves near the top early that way they can just maintain the lead throughout the season.
Colorado and Minnesota met four times last season. The Wild took the first game 3-2 in a shootout. The second game of the season series saw Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each score a goal and add two assists. The Avalanche dominated the second game by a score of 7-2.
Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had another huge game in the third game of the season series. MacKinnon scored two goals and had three assists, while Rantanen had a goal and three assists. Colorado won 7-1. J.T. Compher scored two goals in the final game of the season to secure a 5-1 win against the Wild.
Minnesota and Colorado met in the first game of the season this year. Mikko Rantanen and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist in route to a 4-1 Avalanche win. Nathan MacKinnon also added a goal to add to his success against the Wild.
Last season, the Avalanche went 3-1 against the Wild in the season series. Colorado then was able to take care of business in the first game of this season’s series. Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon have both found quite a bit of success against the Wild in recent history. I believe the Avalanche have the edge against Minnesota.
Colorado’s Offense vs Minnesota’s Defense
The Avalanche have one of the top scoring teams to begin this season. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon have each scored 8 goals to begin this season. Mikko Rantanen leads the team with 16 points. Colorado has scored 33 goals this season, which is top 10 in the NHL. The Avalanche also have a really solid defense, holding teams to only 21 goals this season.
Minnesota has one of the top defenses this season. The Wild have held teams to 25 goals this season. Between Minnesota’s defense and goaltending, the Wild are able to stop a lot of top offenses. Minnesota has only scored 26 goals, which is near the bottom of the league.
I believe that the Avalanche and Wild are pretty evenly matched. I believe Colorado gets an edge because of their defense. Minnesota’s offense has struggled, while the Avalanche have had a strong defense. Colorado’s offense versus the Wild’s defense should be a good matchup. Tampa Bay was able to stop Colorado’s offense, which makes me think the Avalanche will not be slowed down twice in a row.
Semyon Varlamov will likely start in net for the Avalanche on Saturday night. Varlamov has posted a record of 4-1-2 to begin this season. He has a save percentage of .953 and a 1.56 GAA. Varlamov has been stepping up since Colorado picked up Philipp Grubauer in free agency.
The Wild’s starting goalie will likely be Devan Dubnyk. He has gone 4-1-2 as well to begin the season. Dubnyk has posted a .946 save percentage and a GAA of 1.95. Both Dubnyk and Varlamov have posted really solid numbers to begin the season.
I believe this is a really solid matchup between goalies. Both goalies have been red hot to begin this season. Colorado’s offense is more likely to beat Dubnyk in my opinion. This game could be real low scoring as both goalies can take over a game.
Colorado and Minnesota will be locked in a divisional battle on Saturday night. I believe the Wild’s winning streak could likely come to an end on Saturday night. The Avalanche lost their last game and I do not believe they will lose twice in a row. On top of that, Colorado has also been able to beat Minnesota as of recently.
BetOnline has the Wild listed at a money line of -149, which implies they win this game about 60 percent of the time. Colorado has played really well to begin this season and I believe that their offense can give them the win on Saturday night. I like the road underdogs.