Duchene, MattThe Colorado Avalanche continue to exceed expectations this season. The problem is they haven’t been able to perform at all against the Minnesota Wild, the worst team in the Northwest Division. Nothing changed about that trend last night, as the Avs got shutout 1-0 at the Pepsi Center.

The Wild’s team blog points out that neither team dominated, but the Wild was able to kill six Avalanche power-play opportunities. The Avs are 1-12-2 in the last 15 games against the Wild. The Denver Post thinks the problem is Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, a player the Avs can’t seem to figure out. Backstrom’s all-time regular-season record against the Avs is 14-2-2, including last night’s shutout.

The Post also points out that poor power-play attempts for the Avs are problematic. Coach Joe Sacco calls the team “sloppy” on the power play, but Avs rookie Matt Duchene (pictured) says there seems to be something more going on when the Avs play the Wild.

“I think we just have a brain lock against that team,” he says, “and we’ve got to get out of it.”

They better get it figured out. The loss dropped them from second place in the Western Conference to fifth (via NHL.com).