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vs. Colorado Avalanche, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. Thursday

TV; radio: BSN; 100.3 FM

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

Pregame reading: Mason Shaw continued his amazing comeback from four knee surgeries.

Sarah McLellan's analysis:

Opening bell: The Avalanche have already clinched a playoff spot, and their 100 points are 19 more than the Wild. C Nathan MacKinnon (47-80-127) is tied for the league scoring lead. But maybe facing a lineup near the top of the NHL is what the Wild need to be on top of their game. Their last two victories came against Ottawa and San Jose, teams below them in the standings, but neither effort by the Wild (36-29-9) was impressive.

Watch him: LW Brandon Duhaime has played in every Avalanche game since Colorado acquired him from the Wild on March 7. Duhaime is still seeking his first goal with his new team, but he's chipped in three assists in 11 games while averaging 10 minutes, 55 seconds in ice time. Playing against his former teammates on the Wild shouldn't be too strange; Duhaime's Avalanche debut came against the Wild on March 8 in Denver.

NHL standings

Injuries: Wild LW Marcus Foligno (core muscle surgery) and D Jared Spurgeon (hip/back surgery). Avalanche G Pavel Francouz (groin), LW Joel Kiviranta (illness), LW Gabriel Landeskog (knee), RW Valeri Nichushkin (lower body) and RW Logan O'Connor (hip).

Forecast: Colorado is chasing Dallas for the Central Division lead. Still, the two points up for grabs are more valuable to the Wild. They're missing Foligno, and C Ryan Hartman will be serving the second game of a three-game suspension. But the Wild will need to be sharp to keep up with the Avalanche, and they've proven they can do that; their 2-1 overtime loss at Colorado last month was one of their most competitive games of the season. If they can rediscover that attention to detail, they could test the Avalanche again.

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