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Osgood takes another crack at 400 vs. Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski /
DENVER -- Chris Osgood has played some significant games against the Colorado Avalanche, especially in the playoffs, and he will add another one to the list Monday night at the Pepsi Center when he attempts to become the 10th goalie in NHL history to win 400 games.

This will be the Detroit Red Wings' veteran’s third crack at the milestone, after a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Thursday and a 4-3 overtime defeat to Dallas on Dec. 19 in his previous two games.

Osgood, 38, has posted a 3-3-2 record in eight games this season with a 2.84 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. In 25 regular-season games against the Avalanche, he owns a 10-8-6 record with a 2.67 GAA and .901 save percentage.

Osgood will have to accomplish the feat without help from forward Danny Cleary, who fractured his left ankle in the third period of Sunday's 4-1 win in Minnesota. Cleary, who leads the Red Wings with 16 goals, joins Pavel Datsyuk (wrist) and Mike Modano (wrist) on the injured list.

"Losing Pav less than a week ago for 4-6 weeks and now Danny Cleary, who on a lot of the nights has been as good as anyone we’ve had in this dressing room, is terrible," Red Wings forward Kris Draper said Monday morning following an optional skate. "He was having such a big year and it’s certainly a big blow for our hockey team.

"We just have to stay the course. We realize injuries are a part of it and we've just got to keep working through this."

The Red Wings have managed to more than stay afloat despite a number of serious injuries and enter Monday's game holding down first place in the Western Conference with 22 wins and 48 points.

Jan Mursak, 22, was summoned from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to replace Cleary in the lineup and he'll make his NHL debut against Colorado. Mursak had 10 goals and 13 assists in 33 games with the Griffins.

"Guys are going to get an opportunity, more ice time," Draper said. "It's up to the individuals to step up and do it and take advantage of those situations. We just have to try and keep this thing rolling."

The Avalanche have also been hit hard by injuries, but forwards Milan Hejduk and Cody McLeod will return against Detroit after missing seven and three games, respectively, with groin injuries.

"A lot of things have changed. The media and fans probably get more juiced up than the players. A lot of faces have changed." -- Adam Foote on the Avs-Wings rivalry

Hejduk was leading the team in scoring with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) when he was hurt in a Dec. 10 game in Atlanta. He'll play right wing on a line with Tomas Fleischmann and Matt Duchene.

"It feels fine and I'm ready to go,"; Hejduk said.

The Avalanche won five consecutive games without Hejduk but have lost two in a row while being outscored 8-1 by Los Angeles and Minnesota.

"The last couple games it looked like we didn't have energy that we had before," Hejduk said. "We were a little flat and teams took advantage and won both games."

Goalie Craig Anderson, who was pulled in the second period of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Wild, will sit behind Peter Budaj against the Red Wings. Budaj stopped all 18 shots he faced against Minnesota and will make his first start since a 6-5 road loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 4.

"I think it's the right time to get him back in there," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said.
Rivalry renewed: The Red Wings and Avalanche are meeting in Denver for the first time this season after playing twice in Detroit. The Avalanche won 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 12, and the Red Wings prevailed 3-1 on Nov. 13.

The teams waged a fierce and often bloody rivalry from the mid-1990s to 2002, but the bitterness pretty much disappeared as antagonists from each club retired.

"A lot of things have changed," Avalanche captain Adam Foote said. "The media and fans probably get more juiced up than the players. A lot of the faces have changed."

Like Foote, Draper was a part of the rivalry in an era when both teams were winning Stanley Cups.

"I don’t think you'll see for a long time what Detroit and Colorado was," he said. "That was pretty intense, pretty special to be a part of. It was physical, but you look at all the guys from Colorado and Detroit, all those guys who are going to be going into the Hockey Hall of Fame, there were some great hockey players."

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