Season Series –- This is the third meeting of four between the Avalanche and Red Wings this season. The first pair of games were played in Detroit and were split between the two teams. Colorado won the first one 5-4 in overtime on Oct. 12 while Detroit stole the next match with a 3-1 decision.
Big Story –- While the vintage rivalry between these two Western Conference clubs has fizzled a bit in recent years, it was hailed as the best in sports during its peak. However, games between these two teams are still filled with passion and vitriol despite the new faces on both sides. Detroit currently leads the Western Conference with 48 points, while Colorado currently sits in seventh place with 42 points.
Red Wings -– Detroit continues to dominate the Western Conference with the kind of team play that makes opponents shudder. After dropping two games last week to Western Conference foes, the Red Wings bounced back from the Christmas break with a convincing 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night despite playing without top center Pavel Datsyuk, who is out with a broken hand.
"You just try to get the pucks in there for rebounds and they went in for us," Lidstrom said. "We'll take those goals, especially coming off the two-day break."
"When you score the first two, three goals, it certainly makes it a lot easier to go and play," added Draper, who scored the third goal of the game. "We did a real good job in the neutral zone; any chance we got we got the puck in deep and we got on the forecheck and certainly got them on their heels."
Avalanche –- Colorado was not so fortunate in its meeting with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night before the Christmas break as it suffered a 3-1 loss. Colorado dropped its last two contests after riding on a six-game win streak. Although Colorado has suffered a slew of injuries to key players this season, the Avs have somehow managed to win more games than they lose. In fact, they continue to score more goals than any other team in the League.
Despite the bright spots in the season, Colorado will need a strong performance on Monday night to defeat the conference leading Red Wings.
"We didn't play our best game," John-Michael Liles told the Denver Post regarding the team’s recent losses. "You have to play each and every night, or it will cost you. I think we battled down the stretch tonight, but when you put yourself behind it's tough to come back in this League."
Who's Hot -– Henrik Zetterberg boasted a goal and an assist in the Red Wings’ most recent contest and leads the team with 40 points this season… David Jones scored the lone goal for Colorado on Thursday. Jones has 2 points in his last five games and Matt Duchene continues to produce for the Avs with a team-best 34 points.
Injury Report –- Detroit's Datsyuk is out indefinitely with a broken wrist and forward Mike Modano (wrist) is on injured reserve. ... Colorado is without Peter Mueller (concussion), Chris Stewart (hand), Kyle Quincey (shoulder) and Kyle Cumiskey (concussion). Milan Hejduk and Cody McLeod are day to day with groin injuries.
Stat Pack -– Colorado has allowed five shorthanded goals this season.
Puck Drop -– The Avalanche and Red Wings have met six times in the postseason since Colorado’s inaugural 1995-1996 season and split with three victories each.