NHL Opening Night Preview: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild


Apr 21, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund (64) is hit by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nate Guenin (5) during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of the year again, the Colorado Avalanche are back in action as they open up against a new-found rival in the Minnesota Wild. If you remember correctly, both teams played each other in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Unfortunately, the Avalanche fell in game seven with Minnesota advancing to the next round. 

What: NHL Regular Season Opener: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
When: Thursday, October 9th
Where: Xcel Energy Center (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Time: 9:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM MST

After losing longtime Avs’ player Paul Stastny in free agency to the St. Louis Blues, Colorado reloaded with a veteran presence. The team went on to sign forwards Jarome Iginla and Daniel Briere, while adding defenseman Brad Stuart to shore up the blue-line.

More from Colorado Avalanche

The Avs’ surged through the standings last season, exceeding all expectations with a (52-22-8) record under rookie head coach Patrick Roy. Roy went on to win NHL’s Coach of the Year while the team’s first overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon, went on to capture the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year). Who isn’t excited about this young, experienced core that the Avs’ possess?

You know there will be some bad blood in tonight’s game; count on it. Wild forward Matt Cooke ended Tyson Barrie‘s playoff run after blatantly sticking out his knee, connecting knee-to-knee with Barrie which resulted in a MCL injury — missing the next four-to-six weeks.

The Wild made a splash in free agency this offseason as well, signing forward Thomas Vanek to a three-year deal worth $19.5 million back in July. Vanek played in a total of 78 games last season, collecting 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists). Put him in the group with a solid core of Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, and Jason Zucker — not to mention Nino Niederreiter. The Avs’ have a pretty solid young core as well. Players such as Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson, Semyon Varlamov, Tyson Barrie, and Gabriel Landeskog.

Projected Avalanche Lines:

Defensive Pairs:

Starting Goaltender:

  • Semyon Varlamov.

Puck-drop between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, is scheduled for 9:00 PM EST, 7:00 PM MST.