Avalanche-Red Wings Preview

Playing in Detroit hasn’t proved easy for most opposing teams

for the last two decades. The Colorado Avalanche, though, have come

away with wins from most of their recent trips to Joe Louis

Arena.

While looking to add to that success, the Avalanche will also

try to spoil the Red Wings’ perfect start to their longest

homestand of the season Saturday night.

The Red Wings (10-3-1) have registered 507 wins in 778 home

games since the start of 1990-91 season. The Avalanche, though,

have won four of five in Detroit, and they’re one of two teams to

earn a victory there this season.

Colorado rallied from a two-goal deficit Oct. 12 and sealed a

5-4 win after Brandon Yip scored in the sixth round of the

shootout. The Avalanche have earned three of their last four wins

in Detroit via shootouts.

Colorado (8-6-1) enters this matchup after one of its best road

performances of the season, a 5-1 win over Columbus on Friday. In

his return from a hand injury, David Jones had two goals and an

assist to help the Avalanche improve to 5-2-1 away from home.

“It’s a nice way to get yourself back in the lineup,” coach Joe

Sacco said. ”I thought Jonesey played well tonight. He played

hard. He was physical on the puck. As a result he got rewarded for

it with a couple of goals.”

The Red Wings, 6-1-1 at home, are coming off their best scoring

performance of the season, a 6-2 victory over Edmonton on

Thursday.

Dan Cleary scored twice en route to a 5-0 lead, and Tomas

Holmstrom added his second goal late in the final period to help

Detroit improve to 2-0-0 on its six-game homestand.

“This is an absolute legit contender for the Stanley Cup,”

Edmonton coach Tom Renney said of the Red Wings. “They’ve got

eight, nine or 10 plus players on their team.”

Jimmy Howard could be considered one of those players. Since

losing to Colorado last month, he’s 4-0-0 with a 2.49 goals-against

average at home, and 8-1-1 with a 2.26 GAA and one shutout overall

this season.

Howard’s counterpart, Peter Budaj, has performed admirably for

Colorado with Craig Anderson (knee) on injured reserve. Since

Anderson went down late last month, Budaj is 3-2-1 with a 2.69 GAA

and one shutout.

He’s also earned consecutive shootout wins over Detroit after

losing four of six previous matchups.

After getting Jones back, the shorthanded Avalanche could see

the return of captain Adam Foote from a head injury Saturday.

“We definitely miss his leadership in the locker room and out on

the ice,” Yip told the team’s official website. “He’s always

working hard and doing the right things, so hopefully we can have

him back as soon as possible because he’s the backbone of our

team.”

Despite Colorado’s recent success at Joe Louis, it has only

managed a split in the last six overall meetings.