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Struggling Wild hope to get on track vs. Avalanche

Minnesota (7-3-1) at Colorado (5-7-0) 9:00 p.m. EST

DENVER (Ticker) -- Every team has ups and downs during the

season. The Minnesota Wild are hoping their downs are about to

turn back around.

The Wild look for their second win in five games when they face

the struggling Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Minnesota was the best team in the NHL through the first

two-plus weeks of the season, opening the campaign at 6-0-1.

Not only were they winning, the Wild were dominating on both

ends of the ice, outscoring the opposition, 23-14.

But the last four games have produced just two points and the

offense has run into a bit of a snag, totaling seven goals.

Minnesota dropped a 3-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks on

Tuesday, allowing a pair of unanswered tallies in the third

period. The Wild had trouble keeping the Sharks out of their

zone, allowing netminder Niklas Backstrom to face 49 shots.

The Avalanche have been markedly worse over their past four

contests, dropping all of them by a combined score of 18-7.

After allowing top goaltender Jose Theodore to leave during the

offseason, Colorado has gotten uneven play from Peter Budaj and

Andrew Raycroft. The two have combined to allow a Northwest

Division-high 42 tallies this season.

Budaj surrendered four goals in the third period on Monday in a

6-2 loss at Chicago.

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