The Detroit Red Wings have turned things around since suffering through a six-game losing streak late in October and hope to continue the positive trend when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. The Red Wings have won two in a row after a 3-1 triumph against Buffalo on Friday and boast at least a point in seven of their last nine contests (6-2-1).
“We had a stretch when we were playing pretty well and losing, and we had to talk about it,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill told reporters. “This is a hard league, and you’ve got to be great to win. We’ve done a pretty good job of that, but we have to keep it going.” The Red Wings are getting strong goaltending and have improved on the power play (8-for-20, last seven games) as they prepare to face the Avalanche, who dropped a 5-2 decision at Nashville on Saturday. Colorado had gone 9-for-26 on the power play over the previous seven games, but went scoreless on seven opportunities against the Predators. “There’s a reason why they went to the Stanley Cup final last year,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog told reporters. “If we score on the power play in the first period to take the lead I think it would have been a different game. … Just a missed opportunity there - basically the whole first period we had a man-advantage and just didn’t capitalize.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (9-8-1): The top line of Landeskog (team-high eight goals), Nathan MacKinnon (team-best 20 points) and Mikko Rantanen had been red hot lately, but were kept off the scoresheet by Nashville. Defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the lineup after missing one game with an upper-body injury and had three shots in 20:53 of ice time Saturday. Rookie forward Alexander Kerfoot notched a pair of assists against Nashville and boasts nine points (four goals) in the last six games to push his season total to 15 while carrying a plus-5 rating.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (10-8-2): Dylan Larkin has notched two goals and a pair of assists in the last two games to tie Anthony Mantha for the team lead in points with 19 while defenseman Mike Green boasts 17 after recording four assists in the last four contests. Green reportedly was paired at practice Saturday with fellow defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who is expected to return Sunday after missing the last 17 games with an ankle injury. Goalie Jimmy Howard continues to string together solid performances, allowing eight goals over his last five games (3-1-1).
1. Colorado D Andrei Mironov registered his first career two-point game Saturday with a goal and an assist.
2. Detroit C Frans Nielsen needs one point to reach 400 in his career and has five in his last six contests.
3. The Red Wings have gained at least a point in 10 of the last 11 meetings, but lost 3-1 to the Avalanche at home last season.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 4, Red Wings 3