Minnesota (9-12-3) at Colorado (14-8-4)

Light Rain with Thunder Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Sat Nov 28, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Wild look to improve to 3-0 against the Colorado Avalanche when the Northwest Division rivals complete a home-and-home series Saturday night in Denver.

Colorado (14-8-4) is the only team Minnesota (9-12-3) has beaten twice. The Wild got a hat trick from Chuck Kobasew(notes) in a 5-3 home victory Friday.

Kobasew’s lone previous hat trick was Jan. 24, 2006, at Colorado in a 7-4 victory with Calgary.

“I guess it’s just a coincidence,” Kobasew said. “I’m not going to get ahead of myself. It’s nice to contribute and get the win.”

It was the second game back for Kobasew after he missed the previous four with an upper-body injury.

“He’s done a real good job trying to talk to us, try and feel us out, try to get into those positions where we can take advantage of his shot,” left wing Andrew Brunette(notes) said. “If he can get himself into those positions he’s going to get a lot of chances.”

Mikko Koivu(notes) had three assists, defenseman Greg Zanon(notes) added two and Brunette chipped in with a power-play goal and an assist for the Wild, who scored twice in the third period to snap a 3-all tie.

Antti Miettinen(notes) has missed two straight games with an illness, allowing Kobasew to play with Koivu and Brunette. That line will likely be kept together.

“I’m just trying to pick up on their tendencies and get them the puck,” Kobasew said. “Those guys are the skill guys and I let them make their plays and just try to find a spot where I can be open and be an option for them.”

The Wild are also without right wing Martin Havlat(notes) and defenseman Brent Burns(notes), who were placed on injured reserve Friday.

Minnesota, which was 2 for 20 on the power play in its last five games, scored twice with the man-advantage.

Kyle Quincey(notes), Paul Stastny(notes) and Chris Stewart(notes) scored for the Avalanche, who have lost four of five. Colorado has struggled since starting 10-1-2.

“If we take it to them like they took it to us in the third, I think we come out on top,” forward Matt Duchene(notes) said.

The Avalanche got some bad news when Milan Hejduk(notes) left with an apparent knee injury in the third period. Hejduk leads the team with 11 goals and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

The last four meetings between these teams had been decided by one goal, including the previous three in a shootout. Kobasew’s empty-net goal ended that streak.

The Wild have lost three straight on the road as they make their first visit to Denver. Minnesota won twice and lost in a shootout at Pepsi Center in 2008-09.

Niklas Backstrom(notes) made 31 saves Friday for Minnesota. He’s 5-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average in seven starts in Denver.

“It’s a skilled team, you look at their forwards,” Backstrom said. “They’re good behind the net. They seem to create a lot of traffic coming out toward the net.”

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Saturday, Nov 28