Wild - Avalanche Series Outlook

Wild - Avalanche Series Outlook

Wild - Avalanche Series Outlook
By Judd Hall

No. 3 Minnesota Wild vs. No. 6 Colorado Avalanche

Series Price: Minnesota -115, Colorado -115

Series Format: Minnesota, 2-2-1-1-1

Skinny: The Wild decided to stay quiet during the trade deadline and see what the team would do to close out the regular season. Well, what transpired was a club that won 12 of its final 14 matches in regulation.

Minnesota’s offense is really situated between the wingers Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston. This duo has combined to score 73 of the squad’s 220 goals this season. So it’s safe to say that if these two can’t light the lamp then the Wild’s offense will be lacking at best.

Colorado isn’t a barnburner of a team either, only scoring just 2.7 goals per game for the 2007-2008 season. Something the Avs do well is spread the lamp lighting wealth as five players have at least 18 goals for the year. A name that isn’t include in that quintet is Ryan Smyth, who has just 14 goals this season. However, he has scored snuck it past the goaltender five times since March 1, so his touch might be returning.

The netminding of both clubs is very good this time around with Jose Theodore playing for Colorado and Niklas Backstrom for the Wild.

Health also must come into play for this series and the Avalanche are having problems keeping fresh bodies on the ice for extended periods of time. Out of Colorado’s entire roster, only Scott Hannan and Andrew Brunette have played in all 82 games. They’ll need to get at least full shifts out of guys like Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic and Smyth to keep up with the youngsters the Wild have on hand.

Gambling Notes: If season history is a gauge for playoff success, then Minnesota is your bet for this one. The Wild went 5-1-1 this year against their Northwest Division rivals. The ‘under’ was solid for bettors as well, going 6-2 in the head-to-head match.

The Wild have won six straight home games to close out the season. The Avalanche, on the other hand, has lost three of their final four games outside of Denver.

Colorado has watched the ‘over’ go 5-0-1 in its final six games this season. Minnesota has hit the ‘over’ in two straight tilts.

Outlook: This series will be a lot tighter than many of the games we saw between the two clubs all season. What will set the Wild apart from Colorado is a team that is younger and much faster. Also, Minnesota has gotten much tougher than the club that got pimp slapped by the Ducks in last year’s playoffs. Chris Simon has helped a little with that, if not on the score sheet.

Stay away from the puck line in this scuffle, but take the Wild in six games.

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