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Red Wings-Avalanche Preview @NHL

The Detroit Red Wings probably couldn't wait to get out of California. A visit to Colorado is usually more to their liking.

Detroit looks to avoid its first four-game regulation losing streak in over eight years Tuesday as it continues a five-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Red Wings (25-12-5) began this trip with a four-game win streak and had picked up at least a point in seven straight (6-0-1) before that run ended Thursday with a 9-4 loss at San Jose.

Four unanswered goals led to a 4-2 loss in Los Angeles on Saturday and Detroit allowed three second-period goals Sunday in a 4-2 defeat to league-leading Anaheim.

"I thought we worked real hard, even after they scored a couple of goals in the second period. We kept working hard. We kept getting chances on them," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said Sunday. "We didn't get discouraged or start sitting back."

This three-game skid isn't Detroit's longest of the season since they dropped five in a row from Nov. 17-25. Three of those losses, however, came after regulation. The Red Wings haven't lost four straight in regulation since a five-game slide from Dec. 18-26, 1998.

Although the Detroit-Colorado rivalry has been one of the league's best over the years, it has become one-sided lately.

The Red Wings have won six straight and eight of the last nine meetings with the Avalanche. That success hasn't waned in Denver, where Detroit has won four in a row and seven of eight.

Center Pavel Datsyuk returned to the lineup Sunday for the Red Wings after missing three games with a groin injury. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, though, left in the first period with a strained knee, but may not miss much time.

"It didn't sound like it was very bad," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Defenseman Chris Chelios was scheduled to rejoin the Red Wings on Monday in Denver, but his status for Tuesday is unknown. Chelios, who turns 45 later this month, has missed the last six games while dealing with the aftermath of two homicides at his downtown Detroit restaurant.

"We weren't planning on playing him," Babcock said. "We were planning on giving him a few days to get going. So we'll see."

The Avalanche matched a season high with their third straight victory Saturday, 2-1 at Minnesota in a shootout.

Milan Hejduk scored the winner for Colorado, which improved to 3-0 this season in shootouts.

Saturday's win came in the 41st game of the season for the Avalanche, meaning they have hit the halfway mark with one less point than last season.

"I like our team," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've left a lot of points on the table. I think that's part of the learning curve."

Saturday's victory came with a high price as defenseman John-Michael Liles suffered a broken left foot that will sideline him up to a month. Liles' 10 goals is fourth-most among NHL defenseman.

Peter Budaj has started the last five games in net for the Avalanche ahead of former Vezina Trophy winner Jose Theodore. Both goaltenders have played 22 games this season, but Budaj has a 2.41 goals-against average, while Theodore's is 3.10.

Budaj allowed six goals on 28 shots in his only appearance against Detroit in a 7-3 loss on Nov. 23, 2005.

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