The Colorado Avalanche face an old foe in the Red Wings when they play in Detroit tonight.
More from Analysis
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- What does Ross Colton bring to the Colorado Avalanche?
- Colorado Avalanche in-depth look at Jonathan Drouin
- Colorado Avalanche without Gabriel Landeskog, will another wear the “C”?
- Avalanche vs. Kraken prediction and odds for NHL playoffs Game 3
The Colorado Avalanche-Detroit Red Wing rivalry is a thing of the past. We all know the reasons. The players who hated each other — the Claude Lemiuxs, Patrick Roys, Chris Osgoods, and Darren McCartys — are long since retired from the game. The two teams aren’t even in the same conference anymore, so they hardly see each other.
That said, no matter how short a time you’ve been part of the Avalanche fandom, you know you’re meant to hate the Red Wings. And if you were around at the time of the rivalry, you legitimately hate the Detroit franchise.
Well, the Avs are facing their old rivals today in Motor City. No, it’s not the same as it once was, two titans facing off. But it’s Avs hockey at a time when Avs hockey is fun again. To add a little filip to the situation, Wings hockey isn’t quite as much fun for Detroit fans.
The Colorado Avalanche are enjoying a 15-6-5 season so far. Detroit’s record is a less-stellar 12-11-3. Colorado’s win streak was snapped against the Blues, but they still have points in their last 10 games — and only two of those games were overtime losses. The Wings have been on a win-one, lose-one cycle for a while.
That said, the Wings have a slight edge all time over the Avalanche — 48-58-5-1 (ties). Nonetheless, Colorado took both games last year — and I can tell you from experience the one here in Denver was especially satisfying to watch.
Let’s reminisce about the rivalry a final time before moving on to the keys of tonight’s game. Here’s a man who lived it, legend Milan Hejduk:
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: December 2, 5:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Alt , FS-D (Wings’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)
We already know we have the Fire Line, the hottest line in hockey with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. MacKinnon was named the NHL’s Second Star for the month of November. Rantanen achieved this:
Landeskog also ran. With 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists), which is not exactly shabby.
And, yes, the Avs can win by their greatness alone. However, as stellar as the Avalanche are right now, they’re technically still in the development phase. And part of that development is the young guys, getting them to bolster up the offensive aspects of the game.
I’m hoping to see some of the youngsters have a big game this evening.
Though not exactly what I mean by youngster, ol’ Tyson Barrie may return to the lineup tonight:
That’s a good way to get some secondary scoring.
Special teams are a factor in any game. That’s especially true when it comes to the Colorado Avalanche. Not to toot our own horn (which is exactly what I’m doing,) but the Avs have the best power play percentage in the NHL with 31.4% Detroit is #15 with 20.3%.
Colorado’s penalty kill is #11 in the NHL with 80.4%, while Detroit is at #16 with 79.2%. The two teams are very close to each other in how many penalties they take per game, with Colorado at 10:09 average and Detroit 9:55.
With their speed and Fire Line, though, the Avalanche are much better at drawing penalties. They’ve had 141:12 this season already, which is good for #13 in the NHL. Detroit is dead last at 111:13.
Even though the rivalry is over, the players still feel that instinctual hatred. Colorado-Detroit games tend to get chippy. And if they do, the special teams situation favors the Avalanche.
Tonight marks the first game of a four-game road trip for the Colorado Avalanche. In an every-other-day rotation, they’ll face Pittsburgh, Florida and Tampa Bay. They’ll host the Red Wings on March 5.