A Very Short Introduction to Tonight's Game
While most sportswriters and media predict the Wild will get through the Western Conference quarterfinals, there is some history worth pondering. Here's a brief look at the seasons that brought the Avalanche and Wild to The X tonight.
The Avalanche, born from the Quebec Nordiques, were perennial playoff participants. They made the playoffs every season from their inception in 1995 until last season. During that run the boys in burgundy won two Stanley Cup championships behind the powerful scoring corps of Adam Foote, Joe Sakic, and Peter Forsberg. Then following the lockout of 2004-05 season and handcuffed by the implementation of a salary cap, the team's front office disbanded the team's stars.
The Prodigal Swede
This was not good for Forsberg, the Swede with phenomenal scoring ability struggled with injuries, and wasn't playing this season. Then, not long before the end of the season, the Avs signed Forsberg, and traded for Foote. With their erstwhile team big names reunited, the chemistry is there, but so are several years and injuries.
The Wild, in the playoffs for the second year in a row, are northwestern division champs for the first time. After getting pushed around by the eventual champions the Anaheim Ducks, the Wild bulked up this season to augment their speed and power play skills. They added controversial enforcer Chris Simon who with Derek Boogaard form a lingering threat in opponents' minds. Marian Gaborik set team records for goals and points this season and, at least as importantly, stayed pretty healthy throughout the season. The Avalanche will by no means be easy to beat, but a tough team might be a good primer for Minnesota. If they get through this round, it will only get harder for them with no.1 and 2 seeds Detroit and San Jose also likely to advance.
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