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Red Wings-Avalanche Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:15 AM

Associated Press

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Red Wings-Avalanche Preview
Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche

For the last two weeks, the Detroit Red Wings have been thoroughly overwhelming their opponents.

They've been doing that to the Colorado Avalanche for the last dozen years.

The Red Wings look to win an eighth straight game for the first time in nearly four years and continue their dominance over the Avalanche on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center.

Detroit (16-7-1) has outscored opponents 28-12 in winning its last seven games. Its only victory over this stretch by a one-goal margin was last Friday's shootout win in Boston - the Bruins' only loss in November.

"We feel we have a good team when we play with tempo and we play right," coach Mike Babcock said after Friday's 4-1 win over Buffalo. "We have a lot of good players with a lot of experience, and have a good calmness about us. We don't get too high or too low, we just keep on playing. We think we have a chance to be a good team, but only time will tell."

Fast starts have been key for Detroit during its winning streak, as it's outscored opponents 10-1 in the first period.

Against the Sabres, Jakub Kindl, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula scored first-period goals. Pavel Datsyuk added an empty-netter with 1:17 remaining and Jimmy Howard made 27 saves in his 17th straight start for the Red Wings, 11-2-0 since Nov. 5.

While Howard has posted a 1.70 goals-against average during the winning streak, Datsyuk and Filppula have been instrumental to the offensive end.

Datsyuk has six goals and six assists during the winning streak after scoring two goals in his first 17 games, while Filppula has five goals in the last five games after scoring three times in his first 19 contests.

"The confidence in the room right now is great," Howard said. "And in hockey, confidence is everything."

Detroit, seeking its first eight-game winning streak since Jan. 17-Feb. 5, 2008, has certainly exuded confidence against the Avalanche (12-13-1) over the years.

Since 1999-2000, the Red Wings are 32-10-5 versus Colorado, their third-best winning percentage against any Western Conference opponent. They've already won the first two meetings this season, 3-0 in Colorado on Oct. 8 and 5-2 at home Nov. 8.

Franzen, Detroit's leader with 11 goals, scored in the first meeting and recorded a hat trick in the rematch. He has 10 goals in his last nine games against Colorado.

Howard, 4-0-1 with a 2.82 GAA in his last six starts versus the Avs, was only in net for the November meeting, stopping 24 of 26 shots.

Colorado has a way to go before matching Detroit's current winning streak, but its confidence is starting to grow after winning back-to-back games for the first time since a five-game run from Oct. 10-17.

The Avalanche are coming off Friday's 3-2 shootout win over St. Louis after beating New Jersey 6-1 on Wednesday. They were 3-9-1 in their previous 13 games.

Against the Blues, Ryan O'Reilly scored the tying goal at 9:34 of the third period and then converted in the shootout

"We want to play well in our own end and build our game from there," said O'Reilly, who leads Colorado with 15 assists and 19 points. "If we keep doing the little things right we should be alright."

Semyon Varlamov stopped 35 shots Friday and has started the last five games for the Avs, going 3-2-0 with a 1.78 GAA. He has been in net for both losses this season - his only two career starts versus Detroit - recording a 3.46 GAA.

Colorado, which is concluding a franchise-record eight-game homestand, is 12-26-3 at the Pepsi Center since its last three-game winning streak there - last Dec. 13-19.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 25 '12 COL 4 at DET 3 S. Downie
Dec 04 '11 DET 2 at COL 4 T. Galiardi
Nov 08 '11 COL 2 at DET 5 J. Franzen
Oct 08 '11 DET 3 at COL 0 J. Franzen
J. Franzen25121325+81875
P. Datsyuk2581624+0822
V. Filppula2581321+91010
N. Lidstrom2561319+81020
H. Zetterberg2551015+3201
J. Hudler2421012+51801
T. Holmstrom234711+01041
I. White214711+13800
N. Kronwall256410-21432
D. Cleary25538-1620
T. Bertuzzi19167+62200
J. Abdelkader25246+12001
D. Miller23246+7601
J. Kindl23156+41300
D. Helm25325+1200
B. Stuart25314+5201
J. Ericsson25134+32300
C. Emmerton18112+4600
B. Smith3022-1400
P. Eaves10011+0200
F. Brunnstrom5011-2400
M. Commodore3000+0400
C. Conner2000+0000
G. Nyquist1000+0000
J. Howard2115-5-1385521.83.931
T. Conklin51-3-0141263.27.889
R. O'Reilly2761521+1410
M. Duchene2791019-3441
M. Hejduk279918+01241
K. Quincey2731316+02631
P. Stastny278715-51230
D. Jones277714-61221
R. Wilson2711314+52400
G. Landeskog275813+71211
D. Winnik27369-51600
E. Johnson22099-12600
J. Hejda27358-12400
S. O'Brien27178+14710
J. McClement25426+0600
C. Kobasew25336-71001
T. Galiardi24325-5802
J. Lindstrom16235-9010
R. O'Byrne27134+13100
S. Elliott5213+0001
K. Porter13101-5000
C. McLeod21011-25200
B. Yip6000+0400
P. Mueller3000+0000
M. Hunwick2000-2000
S. Varlamov209-10-1565902.84.905
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