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Avalanche Makes First Trip To Little Caesars Arena

Colorado faces Detroit in second half of a back-to-back

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche's closes its weekend back-to-back set at the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. It's the first of two meetings between the clubs this season and the only one in Detroit. The Avalanche hosts the Red Wings on March 18 at Pepsi Center.

Colorado has a 50-61-10 all-time record against Detroit and a 29-41-6 mark since moving to Denver in 1995. The Avs and Red Wings split last season's two-game series, with each squad winning at home.

Sunday's matchup is the first-ever for the Avalanche at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, the new home of the Red Wings that opened this season.

Last Time Out

Colorado Avalanche (5), Nashville Predators (2)

Andrei Mironov scored his first career NHL goal and J.T. Compher also scored in the third period, but the Avalanche lost 5-2 at the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov made 19 saves, while his Nashville counterpart, Pekka Rinne, denied 29 pucks. The Avs had 11 minutes worth of power-play time in the first period, but Nashville tallied first with Craig Smith scoring on the club's first man advantage with 34.7 seconds left in the stanza. The Preds finished 2-for-4 on the power play while the Avalanche couldn't capitalize on its seven chances.

Detroit Red Wings (3), Buffalo Sabres (1)

The Red Wings used two third period goals to pick up their second win in a row, as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Friday night in Detroit. After Ryan O'Reilly tied the game at 1-1 for Buffalo at 5:50 of the third, Tomas Tatar gave the Red Wings back the lead 2:46 later. Dylan Larkin gave Detroit some insurance with a tally at 15:56 of the period, and goaltender Jimmy Howard finished with 19 saves. Luke Glendening also scored for the Wings.

Last Time They Met

Colorado lost 5-1 to Detroit in the teams' last meeting on March 18, 2017. It was the Avs' last game at the old Joe Louis Arena, and the second half of a home-and-home set for them. Colorado had won 3-1 at home three days earlier.

The Red Wings scored four unanswered goals in the third period after Nathan MacKinnon tied the game at 1-1 early in the final stanza. Tomas Tatar scored twice in 1:36 in the third to give Detroit a lead it wouldn't relinquish. He also added an assist in the game. Gustav Nyquist (goal, assist), Dylan Larkin (goal, assists) and Henrik Zetterberg (two assists) also had multi-point outings. Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 23 total saves, while Colorado netminder Calvin Pickard stopped 18 shots.

What To Watch

Back-To-Backs

The Avalanche looks to turn the tide in the second half of back-to-back games. Colorado is 1-3-0 in the second of consecutive-night contests, with its only victory coming on Oct. 28 with a 6-3 defeat of the Chicago Blackhawks.

This is the Avs' fifth of 11 back-to-back sets this season. Colorado is in the midst of playing four back-to-backs over 22 days, playing one each weekend this month.

Finding The Net

The Avalanche entered Saturday as the highest-scoring team in the NHL since Oct. 28, averaging 4.43 goals over those seven contests. Colorado only found the back of the net twice against Nashville, with both tallies coming in the third period.

The Avs will aim to find that scoring touch again versus a Red Wings squad that can match them offensively. Detroit tallied eight goals on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames and have scored at least three times in five of its last six contests.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Andrei Mironov

The rookie from Moscow, Russia, scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in Nashville and also contributed an assist for his first multi-point performance in the league. The D-man's role has grown since he first made the jump to North America at the start of the season. After being a healthy scratch for eight of his first nine NHL games and having a short stint in the AHL, Mironov has now skated in six of the last eight contests. He played a career-high 14:21 on Thursday versus the Washington Capitals.

Detroit: Center Dylan Larkin

Larkin has 10 points with three goals and seven assists in his last nine games. He tallied on Friday versus the Buffalo Sabres, his fourth point (two goals and two assists) in two contests. Larkin is tied for the team lead in scoring with 19 points (four goals and 15 assists) in 20 games this season. The 21-year-old is four points away from 100 in his career.

Lineup Notes

With goaltender Semyon Varlamov starting in the Avalanche's contest on Saturday in Nashville, Jonathan Bernier is expected to be the man between the pipes for Colorado in Detroit. The Avs have been alternating between netminders during their back-to-back sets this season.

The Details

Game time is set for 4 p.m. MT at Little Caesars Arena. The contest can be watched live locally on Altitude, while Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 and ColoradoAvalanche.com will carry the radio broadcast. The game can also be watched online via NHL.tv (blackouts apply).

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