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Game 42 Preview: Avalanche at Red Wings


Vs_medium       Matchredwings_medium
Colorado Avalanche
5 MT / 7 ET / 12 GMT
Detroit Red Wings
23-12-6 December 31st, 2009
52 pts Joe Louis Arena
44 pts
3rd in West
Detroit, MI
10th in West


At the start of the season, the Colorado Avalanche were expected to go nowhere while the Detroit Red Wings were retooling for yet another deep playoff run. Just about four months later, the tables have turned a little bit. Okay, they've turned quite a bit - to the point that you could actually call this a trap game for the Avalanche.

Simply put, the Wings are a bit of a mess. They have a boatload of injuries (Franzen, Zetterberg, Lilja, Cleary, Kronwall, Williams). Their 2nd leading goal-scorer is a washed-up Todd Bertuzzi, which may explain why they've been shut out 3 times in the last 4 games (the big oaf is actually the only one scoring lately, with 10 points in the last 10 games). Detroit's PP has scored just 1 goal in the last 8 games (3.6%) and they are one of the lowest scoring EV strength teams in the NHL (the Avs have 81 EV 5-on-5 goals to Detroit's 60). Blissful. Meanwhile, the Avalanche finished the first half with the 3rd most wins (23) since the team moved to Denver. How about those apples, Gilmour?

Okay, enough with the blatant attempt to get the panties of the Abel to Ysebaert folks in a bunch. The Avalanche need a lot more of the stuff they've been doing in the first 40 minutes of hockey games and a lot less of what they've been doing in the last 20. I really can't determine just what the hell happens to this team with a lead. It doesn't looks like they are doing anything different, but there has to be some reasonable explanation as to why Alexai Kovalev transformed from dud to superstar in the final 15 minutes of last night's game, right? And it's kind of hard to poke fun at the Wing's lame-ass power play when the Avs are 0-for-their-last-13 (both teams are an identical 28 for 159 on the season).

Presumably, Craig Anderson will get the start again tonight, as he's only missed one of the Avs' back-to-back games this year (thanks Keith Ballard!). The Avalanche are 6-1-1 in the first back-to-back game and 3-3-1 in the second. They've struggled lately in the 2nd games, though (0-3-1 in the last 4) and (sarcasm alert) I'm sure goalie fatigue has nothing to do with it. Jimmy Howard starts for the Wings.