Avalanche, Red Wings face off in matchup of surging teams
DETROIT — The Colorado Avalanche, one of the hottest teams in the NHL with the league’s top two scorers, face a Detroit Red Wings team playing the second of back-to-back games on Sunday night at Little Caesars Arena.
The Avalanche (15-6-5) are 8-0-2 in their last 10 after a 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday night in Denver. Colorado trailed 2-0 after the first period and rallied to force overtime and get a point.
“I really liked how our team responded in the third,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said after Friday night’s game. “We find ourselves in a two-goal deficit there, and we were able come and dig our way out of that and get it to overtime.
“It’s a big point, it’s an important point, would have liked to have two, but sometimes that is the way it goes. Our guys played hard.”
Colorado right winger Mikko Rantanen is the NHL’s leading scorer with 43 points on 11 goals and 32 assists. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is second with 41 points on 18 goals and 23 assists.
MacKinnon was the league’s second star for November. His 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) tied the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov for the league lead for the month. MacKinnon’s 23 points equal the Avalanche record for scoring in November, set by Peter Forsberg in 1995-96.
The Red Wings (12-11-3) beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 on the road Saturday night. It was Detroit’s first regular-season win in Boston since October 2013 (0-9-2).
“I think it’s the first time in my career we’ve won here,” said center Dylan Larkin, who had a power-play goal and leads Detroit with 22 points. “We were ready to play from the goalie out, a good team win.”
Red Wings center Frans Nielsen’s first goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie with 8:07 left.
“You do (worry you’re never going to score again) a little bit,” Nielsen said. “But at the same time you just go out and play your game and it will go in sooner or later.”
Tyler Bertuzzi also scored Saturday night to give him three goals in the past two games. He scored twice in a 4-3 win over St. Louis on Wednesday night at Little Caesars Arena, including the tiebreaking game-winner with less than seven minutes left. Bertuzzi has nine goals for the season.
“We didn’t stop pushing. We just kept on going,” Bertuzzi said about Saturday night’s win.
“Huge win. Just for the fact that we’ve gone into the building (TD Garden) and struggled the past few years,” Nielsen said.
The Red Wings have been on a hot streak of their own, going 11-4-1 in their past 16.
“Great test tomorrow night, great test,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’re going to get back (to Detroit) at a decent time and see how we stack up against one of the best.”