FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Darren Collison Jersey . -- Rob Gronkowski is getting some help from a couple of very talented friends as he continues his comeback from knee surgery: Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis. As the New England Patriots prepare for their second preseason game, Gronkowski, their star tight end, awaits a return to contact. Meanwhile, he works on the side, and part of that work includes catching passes from Brady, with star cornerback Revis "covering" him without contact. Pretty fair workout partners for Gronkowski until he is ready for hitting. "Its good just to have a defender out there, instead of just running all of my routes on air right now," Gronkowski said after Sundays practice. "To break off a guy, right in front of you, just like its a game, youve got to break off a guy, break off a defender. Having Darrelle out there giving me a little contact, a little bit, pushing me on my routes, just making me a better player out there, as of right now." Asked if Revis is merely offering some resistance, and not working on his own things with his new team, Gronkowski said, "Its basically more of a drill for me, but hes definitely learning, too, I would say. "Hes just breaking a little bit, not going full, full out. Hes just helping me out and getting me back adjusted to having a defender out there in front of me." The drills also further advance the already special connection between Brady and his tight end. Gronkowski, who underwent surgery on his right knee back in December, didnt accompany the team last week as the Patriots joined the Washington Redskins for workouts prior to the teams meeting in the first preseason game. He stayed behind getting his work in and reports continued improvement. "Pretty good, improving every single week so far," he said when asked about his progression --which is aimed at the apparent goal of him returning for the season opener. "No setbacks or anything like that. Just going out there and feeling better every single time I get on the field." He said the team being away also allowed him to get some rest for the knee. "Im feeling better since the time off so Im doing well," he said. "When you (have) something you cant just keep going on it - youve got to let your body heal, youve got to let your body rest and recover. "It was a good week and now Im back to this week going hard and getting back at it." The next step, of course, is contact, something a 100-per cent Gronkowski loves. "Closer every single day," he said. "Closer every single day, to get in there with the team, getting in there and getting some contact. Talking to the trainers, we dont have a set date or anything. Just taking it day by day and well see how it goes. Just improving every day to get back out there and start hitting." Notes: The Patriots will host two dual practices with the Philadelphia Eagles this week before the team meet in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on Friday night. . Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, who played a shaky first half in the 23-6 loss to Washington, was among the missing on Sunday, but coach Bill Belichick wouldnt say if it was for physical reasons. . The Patriots released tight ends Asa Watson and Justin Jones, and running back Stephen Houston, and signed veteran tight ends Ben Harstock and Steve Maneri and undrafted rookie tight end Terrence Miller. This is Maneris second time with the team and he has also played offensive tackle in the NFL.Anthony Davis Jersey . Now he has a complete game. Scherzer tossed a three-hitter in his 179th career start for his first complete game and Victor Martinez hit his 16th homer to lead the Detroit Tigers a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. Baron Davis Jersey . This week they discuss Russias mens hockey team, the ineptitude of the IOC handling the Nicklas Backstrom situation, John Tortorellas many apologies, and Canadas strong showing in curling. DENVER -- Nino Niederreiter hesitated for just a moment after scoring the winning goal, not sure if what he just saw actually occurred. It happened, all right. His Minnesota teammates suddenly skating over to mob him made the moment real. Niederreiter scored his second goal of the game at 5:02 in overtime after Ilya Bryzgalov made a big save filling in for the injured Darcy Kuemper, leading the Wild to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 on Wednesday night. The right winger was a rather unlikely star with his first two goals of the series. "An unbelievable feeling," said Niederreiter, whose team captured their first playoff series since 2003. "I think our heart made the difference tonight." Minnesota trailed 4-3 before Jared Spurgeon scored on a nifty play with 2:27 left in regulation. Spurgeon waited for a clear look at the goal, and then shot it over Semyon Varlamovs shoulder and off the left post. Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley had the other goals for the Wild, who will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in a second-round series that begins Friday. The two met last season, with the Blackhawks winning in five games. Nick Holden, Jamie McGinn, Paul Stastny and Erik Johnson scored for the Avalanche as they returned to the post-season for the first time since 2010 and tied a franchise record with 52 wins in capturing the Central Division. Not that its much consolation -- not now, anyway. "The toughest part is to not come back tomorrow and be ready for Chicago," first-year coach Patrick Roy said. "We believe in ourselves and its hard to see that its over. "Im sure tomorrow is going to hurt more thinking its over because we still have the emotion of the game." Rookie Nathan MacKinnon couldnt agree more. "It tarnishes the year a lot," said MacKinnon, who had two goals and eight assists in the series. "We wanted to make a run here and we had a chance twice to win the series, once in Game 6 and obviously tonight. Its tough to describe what went on. "Weve got to wait until September to get things going again, which is going to be a long summer, especially watching the playoffs. Its going to be tough." The Avalanchee took a lead on four different occasions, only to have the Wild respond. Josh Gray Jersey. . Niederreiter won it for Minnesota on a 2-on-1 break when he sent a shot over Varlamovs shoulder in the fourth overtime of the series. "Its not easy to play against a good team," said Varlamov, whos a finalist for the Vezina Trophy thats given to the leagues top goaltender. "Theyve been playing well against us the whole series." Bryzgalov took over in net for Kuemper midway through the third. Bryzgalov started the series but was replaced by Kuemper in Game 2. The veteran Bryzgalov stopped a shot with his left shoulder early in the overtime, paving the way for Niederreiters winner. It was his only save in 13:15 of action. Now, like most of the season, the Wild have a concern at goalie, especially since coach Mike Yeo isnt sure how badly Kuemper is hurt. "If only we had any experience dealing with this," Yeo jokingly said. "Were fortunate we have good depth at that position." Roys first season on the bench for the Avalanche ended the same way his Hall of Fame goaltending career did -- with a loss to the Wild in Game 7. Roy surrendered the winning overtime goal in 2003. This one was just as agonizing. "We had our chance -- dont kid ourselves," Roy said. "We had our chance and they took advantage of theirs." Niederreiter was starting to heat up in Game 6, but couldnt find the net. That changed on Wednesday. "He raised the bar," Yeo said. "Got himself in trouble now, because this is what we expect." Niederreiter was only happy to contribute. "As a little kid, its exactly the moment you dream about," Niederreiter said. "Im very happy and fortunate that it happened tonight." NOTES: Minnesota F Matt Cooke served the fourth game of his seven-game suspension for his knee-to-knee hit on Avs D Tyson Barrie. Cooke has appeared in the most Game 7s (seven) of any Wild player. ... Yeo said this is the start of a "budding rivalry" between the two Central Division foes. ... Wild F Kyle Brodziak had three assists. ... Colorado Fs P.A. Parenteau and Matt Duchene each had two assists. This was Duchenes second game back after missing almost a month with a knee injury. ' ' '