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Red Wings hope to bounce back against Avalanche

by Deborah Francisco /

AVALANCHE (12-18-4) at RED WINGS (17-13-5)


Last 10: Colorado 2-8-0; Detroit 5-4-1

Season series: This is the second of a three meetings. They will face each other two times this week, as they’ll also face off in Denver on Friday. In their first contest on March 5, the Red Wings earned a 2-1 victory.

Big story: The Red Wings continue to battle for a playoff berth in the Western Conference despite suffering a 7-1 blowout to the Chicago Blackhawks in Sunday’s matinee performance. The Red Wings are hoping to get back on track as they host the Avalanche, who have struggled this season.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: The Avalanche snapped a four-game winless streak with a nail-biting 1-0 overtime victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov stopped 34 shots to earn his third shutout of the season and the 11th of his career.

"For sure it's a big win, especially when things are not going great for the team and me especially," said Varlamov. "Lots of games, I'm giving up three or four goals. I felt good the whole game. When you have confidence, you play well. When you're not confident, you feel like you're not an NHL goalie."

The game-winning goal was batted in by defenseman Tyson Barrie, who was called up from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League on March 25. He has scored two goals for the Avalanche this season.

Defenseman Shane O’Brien was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

Red Wings: Detroit couldn’t bring home a win on Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday Sunday, as it suffered a 7-1 loss to the Western Conferences’ top team. The Wings were without captain Henrik Zetterberg, who opted not to play after skating in warmups due to a lower-body injury. Johan Franzen, who suffered a lower-body injury on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, did appear in Sunday’s game.

The Blackhawks scored early and often, notching three goals in a 1:39 span in the first period – a deficit the Red Wings were unable to overcome.

"We didn't play hockey tonight whatsoever,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It's tough when you spot them a few goals right away from the start. You dig a big hole for yourselves and we couldn't find a way to get back. It was embarrassing at times."

The Red Wings have dropped two in a row after winning three straight, but remain in the top eight in the West with just 13 games remaining in the regular season.

Who's hot: Colorado’s PA Parenteau is currently one of the top 10 scorers in the NHL with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) this season. … Pavel Datsyuk leads the Red Wings in goals (11) and is tied with Zetterberg for the team lead in assists (24) despite being scoreless in his past two games.

Injury report: Colorado forward Milan Hejduk left Saturday’s game midway through the first period with a shoulder injury and did not return. The Avalanche were already without forwards David Jones (knee) and Paul Stastny (foot), and both are questionable for Monday. … The Red Wings are suffering from a slew of injuries and are without forwards Zetterberg (lower body), Mikael Samuelsson (upper body) and defenseman Kyle Quincey (face). Forwards Darren Helm (back) and Todd Bertuzzi (back) are on injured reserve.

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