Morning Skate: Avalanche at Red Wings Preview

Dave Sandford

7:30p ET, Joe Louis Arena

Detroit, MI

TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket

Avalanche Blog: Mile High Hockey

Detroit Red Wings Tickets

Points… points… and more points.

That is what the Red Wings need to focus on the most. Right now Detroit is in a race for their playoff lives. Yes, we're not even to the halfway point of the season, but it doesn't matter. There are only 26 games to go and if you don't pick up any valuable points now, you'll be regretting it down the road when you're playing must win games for the final two weeks.

A measly two points is all that separates 4th place in the Western Conference from 11th. The Wings currently sit in the 10th spot. A win tonight will vault them into 4th. That's how crazy these standings are. Depending on how the other games finish out, Detroit might not be in 4th at the end of the night, but in the top 8 is the place they need to be. Every point you earn now, that's one less you will need later. It's not time for this team to get lazy. You have another five game losing streak and you're toast. You might as well kiss the playoffs goodbye.

The lineup will likely continue to look the same. Mike Babcock has repeatedly stated that he likes the way his defense is playing, so Ian White might not be getting out of the Leino Lounge any time soon. Babcock was also pretty clear with a solid 'no" that Pavel Datsyuk's linemates will not change. So until the Wings get some re-enforcements back from injury, this is what the team is going to play with. The bottom six has been serviceable lately. It's time for the top six -- especially the top line -- to pick it up now and carry this team for a few games.

The Expected Lineup

Damien Brunner - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen

Daniel Cleary - Pavel Datsyuk - Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar - Joakim Andersson - Patrick Eaves

Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Jordin Tootoo

*

Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey - Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratches: Kent Huskins and Ian White

Injuries: Valtteri Filppula (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (finger), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back) and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder)

AVALANCHE THE MATCH-UP RED WINGS
8-8-4 (20 pts; 13th in West) Record 10-8-4 (24 pts; 11th in West)
2.45 (T-23rd in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.68 (17th in NHL)
2.95 (T-22nd) Goals Against Per Game 2.64 (13th)
12.5% (29th) Power Play % 15.2% (21st)
77.3% (T-24th) Penalty Kill % 77.3% (T-24th)
P.A. Parenteau (9 goals) Goal Leader Damien Brunner (10 goals)
Matt Duchene (19 points) Points Leader Henrik Zetterberg (25 points)

  • The Red Wings are 59-41-5-5 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Colorado Avalanche franchise.
  • Colorado is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets. The Avs have lost four of their last five games. The four losses have all come on the road. They've lost five straight on the road.
  • This is the first game of a back-to-back for the Avs. They're 0-2-0 in the first game of back-to-backs this season.
  • The last time these two teams met was February 25, 2012 at the Joe. Colorado won the game 4-3. Detroit was down 3-0 after two periods. Jiri Hudler scored two goals and Filppula added the other, but a Steve Downie goal midway through the 3rd period ended up being the game winner.
  • Detroit is 3-4-3 in their last 10 games. Colorado is 4-2-4.
  • Howard is 4-2-1 with a 2.88 GAA and .890 SV% in 8 career starts against the Avalanche.
Prediction: Detroit wins 3-0. Zetterberg is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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