Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Predictions: Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild

For each round of the Stanley Cup playoffs I will publish a series preview with my predictions, and you are encouraged to leave your comments on each article picking the winners of each bracket. You get a bracket filled out correctly through the course of the posts, and I will send you a FanSided hoodie.

Stanley Cup Playoffs - Colorado Avalanche Goalie Semyon Varlamov

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Here are the rules, it is very simple, you select and comment on each series preview with who you think will win the series. You can add as much opinion as you want, but all I want to know is what team you think will win and in how many games. You don’t necessarily need to get the game count correct to move on to the second round – but that will be used in the tie breaker.

I should preface this and say that there is, like every other year, sometimes no scientific fact behind my selection of these teams, as sometimes, I just don’t want to see a team win a series.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild

A team that has never won the Stanley Cup against a team looking to capitalize on a mix of youth and past successes.  While some opponents knew who they were playing heading into the final days of the season, it took until the final day of the regular season for these two teams to figure out they were playing each other.

The outlook for the two teams is different, while the Colorado Avalanche are largely the same team, the Minnesota Wild are different from when the last time these two teams met back on January 30th, before the Olympic break.  Reformatted teams could make a major change in the series.  Colorado will be reeling with the loss of Matt Duchene, although the Avalanche have played well so far in his absence.

Minnesota will be relying on depth players and the likeliness that Ilya Bryzgalov will outplay Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Winds of Change

The Minnesota Wild have to be hoping for the winds of change to modify their fortunes against the Colorado Avalanche.  The teams played five times this season, with Colorado stepping away from the regular season with a 4-0-1 advantage on the Wild.

There is a lot to be said about chemistry in the playoffs rounds, and that could be the ace in the hole for the success of the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  While Minnesota is in the playoffs for the second straight year, turnover almost likens the teams to two different organizations.  Can the Wild find stability and playoff success against Colorado they didn’t have in the regular season?

Playoff Schedule

Thursday, April 17 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at Colorado CNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 19 9:30 p.m. Minnesota at Colorado NBCSN, TSN
Monday, April 21 7 p.m. Colorado at Minnesota NHLN U.S., TSN
Thursday, April 24 9:30 p.m. Colorado at Minnesota CNBC, TSN2
*Saturday, April 26 TBD Minnesota at Colorado TSN
*Monday, April 28 TBD Colorado at Minnesota TSN
*Wednesday, April 30 TBD Minnesota at Colorado TSN

Predictions

I have always liked the Colorado Avalanche as my “Western Conference” favorites – but that weighs in very little on the conversation about this round of the playoffs.  I am a fan of Jason Pominville, and Minnesota will likely be a destination for another favorite player in Thomas Vanek.  The addition of Vanek via free agency could help the Wild – but the Colorado Avalanche will seal this series in five games.

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Tags: Avalanche Buffalo Sabres Predictions Stanley Cup Stanley Cup Playoffs Wild

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