Avalanche Coach Wants Nothing to do with Wild Come Playoffs
The Minnesota Wild (17-5-5) and Colorado Avalanche (17-6-3) have been two of the hottest teams in the NHL since the All-Star break. On Wednesday, the two Central Division rivals clashed in one of their most important regular season matchups since the two franchises joined the Central back in 2013.
Entering last night, the Wild sat just one point ahead of the Avalanche and two points ahead of the Stars, for 1st place in the Central. The winner of the division gets to host a wildcard team in the first round of the playoffs. The 2nd and 3rd place teams face each other. So with only eight games remaining on the schedule, it was a must-win game for both Minnesota and Colorado.
Wild take control of Central
It took two Freddy Gaudreau shorthanded goals, including a 4 vs 6 empty-netter, and Filip Gustavsson stopping almost double the shots (42) as Avs goalie, Alexandar Georgiev (25), but the Wild pulled out a 4-2 victory.
Colorado head coach afraid of the Wild
Those variables didn’t make Colorado head coach, Jared Bednar, feel any better about his team’s chances vs the “hottest/best team in the league”, should the Avs matchup vs the Wild, as the #2 and #3 seeds in a couple weeks.
“Certainly, we don’t want to run into the Wild in the first round if we can help it. They’re the hottest team in the league. … They’ve put the full package together. The last 20 games, they’re the best team in the league.”Colorado Avalanche Head Coach, Jared Bednar (via The Athletic)
Now three points up on both the Avs and Stars, the Wild have put the rest of the Western Conference on notice. All they do is win, even without Kirill Kaprizov on the ice. Imagine how good they might look when he returns, which should be soon. Recent reports have Kirill getting back on the ice and skating without contact this week.
And clearly, even rival coaches have no problem telling the hockey world how afraid they are of playing a first round playoff series that goes through the State of Hockey.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan