Avalanche-Red Wings Preview

BY foxsports • February 12, 2016

Petr Mrazek isn't lacking confidence in his first full NHL season. The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of it building in their emerging goaltender.

Mrazek should get a chance to continue his recent dominance as the Red Wings go for a fourth straight win Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche.

Mrazek, who turns 24 on Sunday, is 10-2-1 with a 1.31 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and three shutouts over his past 13 games after posting an 11-8-3 record and 2.32 GAA in his first 24.

"Every goaltender, I think, has swagger and the confidence, you know, so it's important for the goaltender," Mrazek told the team's official website. "I just try and work hard, stay positive, stop as many pucks as you can."

He stopped 22 Wednesday, coming 2:24 shy of back-to-back shutouts in a 3-1 win over Ottawa. Mrazek has allowed two goals on 75 shots during Detroit's three-game winning streak.

"He's a wall back there for us," center Andreas Athanasiou said.

That was certainly true while splitting a pair of meetings with Colorado last season. Mrazek allowed one goal on 51 shots, stopping 28 in a 3-0 road victory Feb. 5, 2015.

Henrik Zetterberg had a point in each of those two matchups, giving him 38 in 41 career meetings including the playoffs. The center has three points in the last two games, including his 10th goal of the season Thursday.

Dylan Larkin is facing the Avalanche for the first time. His 18 goals are tied with Chicago's Artemi Panarin for the league lead among rookies, while his 38 points trail only Panarin.

Detroit (28-18-8) is 5-0-2 in its last seven meetings with Colorado.

The Avalanche (28-25-4) have won 10 of their last 14 road games, including Thursday's 4-3 win at Ottawa after an 0-3-1 homestand.

"It was a big win for us when it hasn't been going our way," right wing Jarome Iginla told the team's official website. "For them to come back and to make a very close game of it and to hold them off in the third period and play a good, smart game with the lead, it definitely feels good. Now we want to keep going.

"It is a weight off our shoulders breaking the bad slide. Now we've got to build upon this."

Iginla ended his nine-game goal drought by finding the net twice on power plays. His 604 career goals are four behind Dino Ciccarelli for 17th in NHL history.

Iginla has eight goals in his last eight regular-season games at Detroit.

Matt Duchene leads Colorado with 24 goals, three shy of his career high set in 2010-11. However, the center's production has slowed down considerably with two goals in 12 games.

He's only scored twice over his last 11 matchups with the Red Wings.

It's unknown if Semyon Varlamov will start after making 26 saves Thursday. He's started on consecutive days three times already this season, going 2-1-0 with a 1.69 GAA in the second game of those stretches.

Varlamov, though, is 1-5-0 with a 3.09 GAA in six career meetings with the Red Wings, while backup Calvin Pickard made 34 saves and turned aside seven of nine shootout attempts in a 2-1 shootout win at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 21, 2014.

He's split four decisions with a 3.76 GAA in seven road games this season.

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