In tough Central Division, Avalanche is a good comparison for the Wild
A five-point margin in the rankings is a good sign of how far Wild needs to go back to the top.
In the next game against the Avalanche in Colorado, Wild alternate captain Marcus Foligno remarked, “We want to go in there and grab two points.”
The Avalanche, a nagging Central Division rival and Stanley Cup contender, has served as a yardstick for the Wild in previous seasons.
Even if the conditions aren’t the same everywhere, that won’t alter Monday afternoon.
The Wild are still not fully healthy and will be looking to extend their three-game winning run against a tough Colorado squad that has won 13 straight games at home.
Marcus Foligno, the Wild’s alternate captain, stated, “We want to go in there and take two points.” “This is a crucial divisional game against a significant opponent.” We’ve enjoyed our game so far, and we believe we can just go in and play a lot heavier, a lot wiser, and do some damage.”
In a competitive Central Division, the Avalanche could be the best gauge.
Colorado, out of all the teams the Wild is pursuing in the division, has the most games (35), compared to the Wild’s 34. Nashville has played five times more than St. Louis.
These disparities may make the rankings seem meaningless, but the five-point difference between the Wild and the Avalanche is a realistic sign of the Wild’s progress toward the top.
Standings in the NHL
The Avalanche, according to coach Dean Evason, “have a lot of things moving in the right way.” “It’ll be an interesting test for us.”
Minnesota’s only previous meeting with Colorado this season ended in a 4-1 loss on Oct. 30, the team’s third straight road loss to the Avalanche.
However, the squad that lost that game will not get an opportunity to redeem themselves on Monday.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek is out with COVID-19, while winger Nick Bjugstad, defender Jonas Brodin, captain Jared Spurgeon, and goalkeeper Cam Talbot are remain sidelined. Alex Goligoski, a defenseman on the COVID list, has been activated and is likely to participate.
The emergence of Wild rookie Matt Boldy, who has three points in three games since being brought up from the minors to make his NHL debut, is another difference. Boldy has been outstanding without the ball by being in the correct location to use his stick to create mistakes. Both of his goals have been game-winners, providing a crucial scoring boost.
“I’ve truly recognised how crucial that is in the past year or so,” Boldy added. “If you’re giving pucks over or aren’t playing well defensively, you’re not going to play.” Your opportunities aren’t going to come your way. Obviously, I want to play offence, but I’m not going to go out there and play offence if you can’t play defence. So [I’m] certainly learning more about that aspect of things.”
Despite Monday’s game provides a chance to build on recent success, the Wild’s three consecutive triumphs while missing important players may have already saved the season from being derailed by adversity.
Those six points have maintained Minnesota in the Central Division contention, particularly given its remaining games, and the Wild might see Eriksson Ek, Spurgeon, and Talbot return this weekend when they play Chicago in a home-and-home series.
“These past three games were really important for us,” Foligno remarked. “There are always those moments in the season when you look back and go, ‘Well, this broke us or this created us.’ So, come playoff time, we want to be able to say, “We did the right thing, and we came together at the right time, and we won three huge, critical wins.” But, until we have a complete roster back, we have to keep doing our best.”
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