Morning Skate: Back to Work

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 08: Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck in front of Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena on November 8, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Which Red Wings team is going to show up tonight?

It's going to be a Red Wings team that is no longer in first place in the NHL. It's going to be a Red Wings team that has lost two straight games to playoff competition. It's going to be a Red Wings team that''s hopefully ready to get back on the winning side of things.

The Wings welcome in a team whose players -- according to newest Wing Kyle Quincey -- have their bags packed beside their door. Pretty much since the lockout ended, the Avalanche have seemed like a team that's been in rebuilding mode. Every other year they're either in the playoffs or in the lottery. Based on the trend they should make the postseason tournament this year, so you could pencil them in at the 8th spot at best.

Detroit shouldn't underestimate the Avs. They can be pesky and they're led by their youth in Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly. It's game where the Wings will have to out work them. There's no question the Wings own Colorado in the skill and talent department, but if they don't work hard, well, none of that matters. Let's hope the team in the Winged Wheel is pissed off after losing to the Canucks and watching their opponents celebrate like they won the Stanley Cup because they ended the home win streak at the Joe (Let's also hope it's something they don't forget when the two teams meet in playoffs down the road).

The Red Wings need to points tonight. They need to beat the Avs in every facet of the game. It's going to take a full 60 minute effort. Don't just outscore them...out work them too. The race to playoffs continues today. There's two points on the line and it's two points the Red Wings have to get.

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Mile High Hockey is your SBNation Avalanche blog.

Puck drop is just after 7p ET on Fox Sports Detroit.

The Expected Lineup

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Johan Franzen -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Todd Bertuzzi

Danny Cleary -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jiri Hudler

Justin Abdelkader -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

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Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Jonathan Ericsson

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Jimmy Howard (starting)

Joey MacDonald

Scratches: Jakub Kindl and Mike Commodore

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee)

AVALANCHE HOW THEY MATCH UP RED WINGS
31-27-4 (66 pts; 11th in West) Record 41-18-3 (85 pts; 2nd in NHL)
2.47 (23rd in NHL) Goals Per Game 3.02 (5th in NHL)
2.71 (17th) Goals Against Per Game 2.31 (5th)
19.0% (10th) Power Play % 17.3% (14th)
82.3% (14th) Penalty Kill % 82.0% (17th)
2 players tied with 16 goals Goal Leader Johan Franzen (23 goals)
Ryan O'Reilly (46 points) Points Leader Pavel Datsyuk (59 points)

  • The Red Wings are 59-40-5-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche franchise.
  • This is the fourth and final matchup between these two teams for the season. The Red Wings are currently 2-1-0 in the season series.
  • The Avalanche have won three of their last four games and five of their last eight. They've won two-in-a-row.
  • Detroit has only had a losing streak of more than two games once this season. They lost six-in-a-row in the opening month of the season. So far this year after losing two (or more) consecutive games the Wings have come back with win streaks of four, seven, three, two and six. Let's hope that trend continues. I'd be cool with a nice five game winning streak here.
  • Semyon Varlamov is 1-2-0 with a 2.87 GAA and .916 SV% in his career against the Red Wings. On the other end of the ice, Jimmy Howard is 4-1-1 with a 2.70 GAA and .896 SV% all-time against the Avs.
  • There is really no need to "call out" Nicklas Lidstrom because the team has played so well this season. Maybe it's just a product of not having produce as much because the defensemen around him are putting up the points too. But, Lidstrom is currently on pace for 41 points this year. It would tie his 2nd lowest point total of his career (if you don't count the 26 points in shortened 1994-95 season). He has three points in his last 12 games and hasn't scored a goal since January 21. He does so much for the team other than putting up points so you can't really say he isn't playing well, but, with Datsyuk out, it would be nice for him to pick it up a little bit the next few game offensively.

Prediction: The Red Wings come out hungry and ready to start a new winning streak at the Joe. WIngs win 3-1 and Nicklas Lidstrom is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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