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Wild-Avalanche Preview

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) and Minnesota Wild left wing Erik Haula (56), from Finland, skate in a spray of ice during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Denver. (AP P Photo:

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) and Minnesota Wild left wing Erik Haula (56), from Finland, skate in a spray of ice during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series on Thursday, April 17, 2014, in Denver. (AP P

An embarrassing season-opening defeat to the Minnesota Wild should provide additional motivation for the Colorado Avalanche in the rematch with their Central Division rival.

The Avalanche have the chance to immediately bounce back and split this home-and-home set with the visiting Wild on Saturday night.

With memories of last season's seven-game, first-round playoff loss to Minnesota still fresh, Colorado showed surprisingly little energy during Thursday's 5-0 loss to the Wild.

Coming off a franchise-record 52-win season during which they ranked fourth in goal average (2.99), tied for fifth in power-play percentage (19.8) and were shut out only once, the Avalanche didn't record a shot while going 0 for 4 with the man-advantage and totaled 16 while hardly challenging Darcy Kuemper.

''That's a tough game, but it's nice that we don't have to wait too long," said 37-year-old Jarome Iginla, whose 67 points are the most by any player against the Wild.

Iginla, though, didn't record a shot in his Avalanche debut.

"We get a chance to be a lot better than we were (Thursday)," he said.

After posting a club-record 48 shots and scoring four times in the second period, the Wild know they likely can't play much better.

''To sit here and expect us to go and play 82 games like that, it's not going to happen," coach Mike Yeo said.

"And I can tell you, to play two games like that, it's not going to happen. We're going to have to be ready for a different game. That's still a very good hockey team. That's still a team that won the division over there.''

Minnesota, which dropped the first three at Colorado in the playoffs before a stunning 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7, expects a hungrier Avalanche group this weekend.

"We know they are a good team and that Saturday is going to be a totally different game," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, who had a goal with an assist Thursday.

With a goal and two assists, Minnesota's Zach Parise has six goals and 11 assists in his last nine regular season and playoff games against the Avalanche.

Colorado's Semyon Varlamov, who faced 35 shots in last season's Game 7, saved 33 of 38 before being replaced by Reto Berra after two periods Thursday.

"I have a lot more to worry about than our goaltenders right now," coach Patrick Roy told the Avalanche's official website. "We didn't compete."

Including the playoffs, reigning Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon has been held without a point in four straight games at Minnesota, but has four goals and nine assists in seven at home against the Wild.

Though Kuemper is coming off his third career shutout, Niklas Backstrom could start Saturday in the same arena he made his final appearance of last season on Jan. 31.

Various injuries limited Backstrom to 21 games while going 5-11-2 with a 3.02 goals-against average, but he's 11-2-1 with a 2.02 GAA as a starter at Colorado in the regular season.

Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie and Minnesota's Matt Cooke did not engage each other Thursday in the first meeting since Cooke's knee-on-knee hit in Game 3 forced Barrie to miss the rest of the series.

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