Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
Just five days ago the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche squared off in St. Paul with the Wild emerging victorious 5-2. Now the two teams will meet in Denver with both teams coming off a win and neither having much to play for at this point.
The Wild have locked up second in the Central Division and clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are really only fighting the Anaheim Ducks for the second slot in the Western Conference; a battle that will truly only matter should both teams make it to the second round. Meanwhile, the Avalanche saw their season end a few months ago as they have admittedly been the worst team in the league all season. However, Colorado isn't going down without a fight.
Having defeated the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Tuesday night, the Avalanche now turn their attention to Minnesota, and as many Wild players know, a team with nothing left to play for is a dangerous team to face.
"This is their last home game, they're going to want to go out the right way," Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday after his team's morning skate. "Coming off a win against Chicago they're probably feeling pretty good about themselves so they'll play as good as they can."
The Wild are one of the best teams on the road this season sitting at 20-13-6 are one of just 12 teams in the NHL that have won 20+ road games this season. Minnesota has only suffered 13 road losses in regulation this season and that is the fourth-fewest in the league.
"The important thing is that we'll do our best to get a win here and have a winning feeling going into the playoffs," Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said.
After tonight, the Wild will have just one game remaining in the regular season - Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes - before Playoffs begin next week and Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau knows the importance of staying focused on these final two games and not looking too far ahead.
"We get paid a lot of money to win hockey games so we'd like to go in there and win. We'd like to play as well as we can," Boudreau said, speaking about his team's somewhat meaningless last two regular season games. "I understand that it's the 81st and 82nd game and players will be looking forward to playoffs but I think it's important to keep the structure up and make sure we maintain what we've gained in the last 10 days."
The puck drops tonight at 8:08 P.M. CST and can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM.