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Avalanche look for revenge against Red Wings

by John Kreiser

RED WINGS (18-14-5) at AVALANCHE (12-20-4)


Last 10: Detroit 6-4-0; Colorado 2-8-0

Season series: After two one-goal wins at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Red Wings go for a sweep of the season series against the struggling Colorado Avalanche.

Big story: The Red Wings are used to competing for championships, but this season they're having to battle just to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They dropped to seventh in the Western Conference by losing 4-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. The Avalanche are the only team in the League that hasn't reached 30 points in the standings.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: There were plenty of fans in Detroit red at Arena on Thursday, but after a strong start, the Red Wings were dominated in the second period by the Coyotes, who traded away three veterans on Wednesday.

"I thought we were poor," coach Mike Babcock said of his team's play in the middle period, when the Red Wings surrendered three goals and were outshot 20-5. "We didn't take care of the puck very [well] in the second period, and they spent a lot of time in our zone. Any time you give up 20 shots [in a period], you're not doing things very well."

Avalanche: Colorado needs to get off to a faster start in the return match with the Red Wings than it did Monday night in Detroit, when the Avalanche trailed 3-0 after two periods and lost 3-2. They lost 3-1 to the Nashville Predators the following night to go 0-2-0 on a quick two-day trip.

Colorado general manager Greg Sherman did little at the trade deadline on Wednesday; his only move was shipping bottom-pair defenseman Ryan O'Byrne to Toronto for a draft pick.

The good news for the Avalanche is that they're back in the friendly confines of Pepsi Center, where they are 10-6-1 this season -- as opposed to a 2-14-3 record on the road.

Who's hot: Johan Franzen has three assists in Detroit's past two games. Dan Cleary had a late goal Thursday and has scored in back-to-back games. … PA Parenteau, Colorado's leading scorer, has five assists in his past five games.

Injury report: Detroit was without rookie forward Damien Brunner (undisclosed injury), as well as forward Mikael Samuelsson (upper body), Todd Bertuzzi (back) and Darren Helm (back). The Red Wings hope to have defenseman Kyle Quincey (broken cheek) back soon. … Colorado is missing forward Milan Hejduk (shoulder), Paul Stastny (foot) and Steve Downie (season-ending knee surgery -- all are on injured reserve, as is defenseman Ryan Wilson (ankle). Forward David Jones is still nursing a knee injury.

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