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“I look every day and the NHL’s announcing award winners and every day there’s a Colorado Avalanche player that’s part of those nominees. It helps to remind us that we’re playing a very skilled group and with that, I think that should help sharpen our focus.”

Forward Matt Duchene glided around the ice Friday morning, lining shot after well-placed shot into the net. The Avs certainly could use the offensive flair of their leading scorer.

Only, Duchene’s not quite ready to return from a knee injury. Not for Game 5 anyway.

“Is he going to play in this series? We’re not sure yet,” Roy said. “We’ll see.”

Mikael Granlund is having quite a series for the Wild, sacrificing his body, too. The Game 3 star with his nifty OT goal made quite an impact in the waning seconds Thursday as well, blocking several shots even after losing his stick.

“Unbelievable,” said goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who’s surrendered just one goal since taking over for Ilya Bryzgalov. “When you see a skilled guy like that lay it all out and put his body on the line, everybody feeds off that.”

Kuemper’s play in net has definitely given the Wild a burst of energy. He’s stopped pretty much everything that’s been thrown his way.

Although, it hasn’t been a lot.

“We’re certainly not executing the way we should be and certainly makes them look a lot better,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “We’re still not testing this goalie enough.”

As for momentum, it’s clearly swung to the side of the Wild, who are without suspended left wing Matt Cooke for a second game after his knee-on-knee hit knocked Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie out for at least a month.

“We’ve just got to stay on the pedal here and continue this push,” Kuemper said.

The Avs are banking that being back in their building will be an advantage.

“As a group we’ve been resilient all year,” Avs defenseman Erik Johnson said. “We’ve had no fear all season long and there’s no reason for us to have it now.”


AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in St. Paul, Minn., contributed.