Playoff rematch ft. Wild hosting AvsThe official game preview Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild.
Season series: The Colorado Avalanche won the final three regular-season games against the Minnesota Wild last season as well as the first two games of their Western Conference First Round series. But the Wild ultimately advanced in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by winning in seven games on Nino Niederreiter's overtime goal in Game 7.
Avalanche team scope: How quickly can Jarome Iginla get up to speed with his new teammates? Iginla signed a three-year contract with the Avalanche over the summer, and in an effort to speed the familiarity process, Colorado coach Patrick Roy adjusted his lines Monday, putting Iginla at right wing on the second line with center Matt Duchene and left wing Alex Tanguay. Iginla and Tanguay spent five years as teammates with the Calgary Flames, often on the same line. The changes on the second line also affected the first, as Nathan MacKinnon, who spent a majority of training camp at center, shifted to right wing. He will play on a line with Ryan O'Reilly at center and Gabriel Landeskog at left wing. O'Reilly has played center in the past but spent almost all of last season at left wing.
Wild team scope: Coach Mike Yeo, who announced Darcy Kuemper as his starting goaltender on Wednesday, has made some minor lineup adjustments of his own. The one staple that remains is the top line of Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. It's a group that spent a lot of time together during the second half of last season and has remained virtually untouched through the preseason. Newcomer Thomas Vanek, who signed a three-year contract with the Wild on July 1, has spent camp next to Mikko Koivu, and it looks like grinder Matt Cooke will get the first chance to play left wing with them. Yeo said Cooke should mix well with Koivu and Vanek, doing the gritty work in the corners and retrieving pucks for the two skill guys. Playing with top-end linemates is nothing new to Cooke, who spent time on lines with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin when he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
-- by Dan Myers for NHL.com --
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09/10/2014 - 16:30