DETROIT – The Red Wings and Avalanche are meeting up for the second time this season and the second and final time at Joe Louis Arena. The Western Conference rivals will finish off the season series this Friday in Denver.
The Red Wings won the first matchup 2-1 on March 5 at The Joe. The two teams split the four meeting series last season, with the Avalanche winning the last two matchups.
Currently seated in last-place in the conference, the Avs have dropped eight of their last 10 games. However, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t prepared to let his guard down against a struggling opponent.
“I like their team, I think I said that the last time they were in here I thought they were just getting ready to take off,” Babcock said. “They just got (Ryan) O’Reilly back and it looked like they had three centers and were really going to get rolling. I like the look of their group. Their back end, (Ryan) Wilson’s still not back, but (Erik) Johnson is and they have centers. They look like a team that’s going in the right direction.”
Besides Wilson (ankle), the Avs won’t have center Paul Stastny (foot) and right wings Milan Hejduk (shoulder) and David Jones (knee) available on Monday.
The Avs are playing back-to-back games for the sixth time this season, as they travel to Nashville for a game there on Tuesday. Colorado is 0-5-0 in the first game of a back-to-back this year and 1-3-1 in the second.
PLAYER TO WATCH
D TYSON BARRIE – The 21-year-old from Victoria, B.C., became the first rookie defenseman in Avalanche history to score an overtime goal. The rookie blue-liner scored 50 seconds into overtime to give the Avalanche a 1-0 victory over the Predators on Saturday. Barrie is the second rookie defenseman in league history to score an OT winner in a 1-0 regular season game. Nashville's Cody Franson accomplished the feat on March 20, 2010 vs. Columbus. Since being recalled from AHL’s Lake Erie on March 24, to replace Wilson in the lineup, Barrie has two points in three games.
Season Series: 1-0-0
2011-12 Season Series: 2-2-0
All-Time Series Season: 60-41-5-5
Colorado’s Season Record: 12-18-4
Top Scorer vs. Red Wings: Gabriel Landeskog – 3 Goals, 2 Assists in 5 Games; Ryan O’Reilly – 2 Goals, 3 Assists in 5 Games.
Red Wings’ Top Scorer –Johan Franzen – 6 Goals, 0 Assists in 5 Games.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
Tickets to this game and all 5 remaining regular-season contests at The Joe are currently available for purchase at the JLA box office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at DetroitRedWings.com.
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