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Avalanche Begins Eastern Road Swing at Red Wings

Colorado enters Detroit on a 10-game point streak (8-0-2)

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche (15-6-5) travels to Detroit for the only time this season to face off against the Red Wings (12-11-3) on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT at Little Caesars Arena. It is the first of two contests between the two clubs during the 2018-19 campaign, with the final meeting scheduled for March 5 at Pepsi Center.

Since the 1995-96 season, the Avalanche has a 31-41-6 overall record against Detroit and a 16-22-1 mark on the road. The Avs swept the two-game season series last year, with Nathan MacKinnon pacing all Colorado skaters with five points (three goals, two assists) in those matchups.

After Sunday's clash against Detroit, the Avalanche continues on its Eastern Conference swing with games at the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Colorado returns to Pepsi Center on Dec. 11 when they take on the Edmonton Oilers.

Last Time Out

Colorado fell 3-2 in overtime to the St. Louis Blues on Friday, earning a point for the 10th consecutive game (8-0-2). After falling behind 2-0 through the first 20 minutes, Nikita Zadorov scored his third goal of the season early in the second frame to cut the deficit to one. Mikko Rantanen's third-period tally was his league-leading 43rd point (11 goals, 32 assists) of the year and tied the game to force extra time. St. Louis' Colton Parayko tallied the game-winner in OT. Zadorov registered a game-high five hits as Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves against the Blues, the 10th time this season he has made 30 or more stops in an outing.

The Red Wings beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 in Boston on Saturday for their second consecutive victory. Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Gustav Nyquist all reached the back of the net for Detroit in the final 40 minutes, and goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 38 shots.

Last Time They Met

Nathan MacKinnon (two goals, one assist) and Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, two assists) paced the Avs with three points apiece in a 5-1 victory over the Red Wings on March 18 at Pepsi Center. The Colorado penalty kill was a perfect three-for-three on the night, and Tyson Barrie added a marker on the power play. Semyon Varlamov earned the win in net after recording 37 saves. Nikita Zadorov registered seven hits in the contest to pace the Avs.

What To Watch

Block Party

Ian Cole added to his league lead by blocking six shots against St. Louis on Friday. The defenseman now has 77 blocks during the 2018-19 campaign, already the fifth-most blocked shots for a season in his nine-year career. The Ann Arbor, Michigan, native's 194 blocks in 2016-17 were his career best and ranked third in the league.

Man Advantage, Advantage Avs

The Avs come into Sunday's matchup with the best power play in the NHL, scoring at a 31.4-percent rate. The man advantage on the road has been especially effective, including markers on the power play in five consecutive games away from Pepsi Center and producing at a 34.6-percent clip. Through 26 contests this season, 27 of Colorado's 97 goals have come on the power play.

Players To Watch

Detroit: Center Andreas Athanasiou

The 24-year-old paces Red Wings skaters with 11 goals this season, including four markers in his past six outings. In his last four games against Colorado, Athanasiou has reached the scoresheet three times, with two tallies and one helper. His 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) last season were the most in his career.

Colorado: Defenseman Samuel Girard

Girard recorded a career high and led the team with 26:36 of ice time on Friday against St. Louis. Since being acquired by the Avs on Nov. 5, 2017 from the Nashville Predators, the 20-year-old has registered 32 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 94 games for Colorado. Sunday's tilt against the Red Wings will be his 100th career NHL game.

The Details

Sunday's contest between the Avalanche and Red Wings is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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