Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Game 4 – Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche


Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche faced a moment of adversity during its Game 3 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

The Wild came out and blitzed the Avs from the beginning and Minnesota netted a 1-0 overtime win. The playoff series is now 2-1 lead for Colorado.

Also the game featured the Wild’s Matt Cooke hitting the Avs’ Tyson Barrie knee-to-knee. Cooke was officially suspended for seven games by the NHL on Wednesday and Barrie will out for up to six weeks because of an MCL injury. And the Wild made their mark on the series. Nothing will be easy for the high-flying Avs.

While Cooke’s hit was dirty, the Avs decided not to respond which was a good idea since the game was 0-0 at the time. But now the Avs have to respond in a different way in Thursday’s Game 4. Not with fights and dirty play but by coming out physical and putting some pucks in the net.

After Game 1 the Avs defense tightened but it reverted back to poor for Game 3. Semyon Varlamov faced 46 shots in the loss. He of course was unbelievable and stopped 45 of them but that is way too many shots given up by the Avs.

The injury to Barrie also hurts the defense for the Avs. Coach Patrick Roy said Ryan Wilson will get time on Thursday. Wilson has not played much all season.

What: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2014: Game 4: Avs at Wild

When: Thursday, April 24

Where: Xcel Energy Center

Time: 7:30 p.m. MDT

TV: CNBC/Altitude

The Avs want nothing to do with going back to Minnesota for a Game 6. If that is possible Colorado needs to win on Thursday. And even if the Avs don’t win they have to look better and play on the same level of the Wild.

Coach Roy said all that went down during Game 3 was a learning experience for his young team. Game 4 will be a chance for the Avs to show what they have learned.

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSchmaedeke