Saturday, January 21, 2006

GameDay: @ Colorado (27-18-3, 57 Pts) 2:00 ET

The Wings will face their old rivals, the Colorado Avalanche, for the second time this season today, and like last Saturday, the game will be televised on NBC. Detroit leads the season series, 1-0, after beating the Avs 7-3 at the Joe on November 23rd. It was the first game after Jiri Fischer's heart episode on the 21st and ended a four-game skid for the Wings, who will face Colorado two more times before the end of the season. The Wings have won their last three, including two over Philadelphia and the New York Rangers. Their most recent game was a commanding 4-0 shut out of Columbus Wednesday night, a game in which they improved upon their league-leading power play by scoring a goal on two of seven power plays (their PP stands at 24.8%). Detroit leads the Central Division race by three points over Nashville with 65 and is the top team in the Conference. This is the second of a two-game road trip, after which they will be home for three games, two of which will be against Nashville. The Avs had won eight in a row before their 4-2 loss to lowly Chicago ended the third-longest such streak in franchise history. It was their first loss in 2006. Despite their recent surge, the Avs are still third in the tough Northwest Division, due to their 16-13-2 start. Concerns about their goaltending have been addressed by David Aebischer, who won his starting job back by winning the last seven games of the win-streak. Manny Legace is slated to start today for the Wings. He sat out the last game and "backup" Chris Osgood played instead. Henrik Zetterberg will not play due to his recent hip flexor injury. Injured defenseman Niklas Kronwall (knee) will pay a visit to his doctor today and is expecting to be cleared to play very soon. The game is on NBC and will be viewed by a national audience. You can be sure they will hype of the "rivalry," however diluted it is these days. Don't expect the broadcast to be as good as last week's: Abel to Yzerman reports that we'll have the "JV" crew, Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab and Cammie Granato. Cuthbert is a good play-by-play man but I haven't heard good things of Granato's version of the between-the-glass feature. Even though the rivalry has died down to a point at which it is hardly special any more, this should be a good game. Both teams have been winning recently and should play hard to keep it that way.


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