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Reply To: NHL • Saturday Service Plays • 12/5/15

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Preview: Colorado at Minnesota

When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Devan Dubnyk is starting to flash the form that sparked the Minnesota Wild’s stirring postseason drive last season, but a more pressing matter may keep him out of the net for Saturday’s home game against the Colorado Avalanche. Dubnyk’s wife is expecting the couple’s second child, which would sideline him for the first leg of the home-and-home set.

“We’re planning to start Devan right now,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said Friday. “If something changes, we’ll adjust.” An adjustment would likely mean the fourth start of the season for backup Darcy Kuemper, who has surrendered 10 goals in his three appearances. Led by red-hot Matt Duchene, Colorado is wrapping up a four-game road trip and is seeking to match a season-high three-game winning streak following consecutive 2-1 victories over the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. “It’s good to win on the road,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. “I really feel that we’re playing some good hockey.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FSN North (Minnesota)

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (11-14-1): A turn of the calendar has not cooled off Duchene, who set a franchise record with an NHL-high 11 goals in November and continued his torrid stretch with tallies in each of the past two games. “Right now, he’s a pretty confident player and putting pucks on net seems to work well for him right now,” Roy said of Duchene, who has 13 goals in 15 games after tallying only once in the first 11 contests to open the season. Duchene will never be in better position to end his goal drought against the Wild – he has not scored against them in 13 straight meetings.

ABOUT THE WILD (13-7-4): After dropping six of seven (1-4-2) to close out November, Minnesota has recorded consecutive victories behind Dubnyk, who has turned away 58-of-59 shots in beating Chicago (2-1) and Toronto (1-0). Forward Zach Parise is struggling to regain his form after missing three weeks with a sprained knee ligament, following a solid performance against the Blackhawks with a clunker versus the Maple Leafs. “In the Chicago game, Zach looked like Zach,” Yeo said. “The last game, I saw more signs of him not being quite there yet. I don’t expect it to come around completely.”

OVERTIME

1. While Dubnyk recorded his league-best fourth shutout Thursday, Dubnyk is 2-0-0 with a 1.54 goals-against average versus Colorado.

2. The Avalanche have killed 10-of-11 short-handed situations in the past six games.

3. Parise has 10 goals and 24 points in 22 games against the Avalanche, including a hat trick in a 5-4 win at Colorado on Oct. 8.

PREDICTION: Wild 4, Avalanche 2