Familiar foe: Wild will face Avalanche in first round of playoffs
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The Minnesota Wild will face the Central Division champion in the opening round of the playoffs but it won't be St. Louis.
With the Blues' late-season fold in full swing, the Colorado Avalanche clinched the division on Sunday and will play host to the Wild in the first two games of their seven-game series. Game 1 is expected to be Thursday in Denver.
St. Louis' 3-0 loss to Detroit on Sunday afternoon gave the Avs the Central title.
The Wild are no stranger to facing the Avalanche in the postseason. The two teams first met in the playoffs in 2003, when the Wild made an improbable run to the Western Conference finals.
The Avs jumped out to a 3-1 lead in that series, but the Wild rallied to tie it and won Game 7 when Andrew Brunette scored in overtime in Colorado. Brunette, who now works for the Wild, beat Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy for the game-winner.
That proved to be Roy's final NHL game.
The Wild also went against Colorado in the first round in 2008. Minnesota won the Northwest Division that season but bowed out in six games.
Roy is in his first season as coach of the Avs and has done an outstanding job. Last season, Colorado finished second-to-last in the NHL with 39 points but a talented young roster has helped to change that.
Colorado went 4-0-1 against the Wild this season and has 111 points. The Wild have 98 points.
The Avalanche will close their season on Sunday at Anaheim, while the Wild will play host to Nashville.