The Detroit Red Wings head to Denver tonight to play the Colorado Avalanche tonight at 9:00 PM in the second game of the NHL regular season.
Colorado’s 2010-11 Numbers
Top Three Scorers from 2010-11
Top Three Scorers in the Pre-Season
|Matt Duchene 5 2 2 3
Milan Hejduk 3 0 3 3
This isn’t the Colorado Avalanche from your teenage years and that’s a good thing. Joe Sakic, Adam Foote, Alex Tanguay, and Patrick Roy have all moved on to the life of retirement. Peter Forsberg has moved on as well, but he will be in the arena tonight to see his jersey raised. They could use vintage Forsberg on the ice.
Colorado starts their season tonight looking to erase the nightmare of the second half of last year. At about the midway point last season, the Avs were 24-16-6 for 54 points. They ended the season6-28-2, gaining only 14 more points.
The Avalanche are hoping two new goaltenders will help lead them back to respectability. Semyon Valamov and JS Giguere are going to have a lot on their shoulders. Colorado’s defense has potential, but they could also fall flat on their face. The hopes is a big and physical defense will be better, but that’s questionable. Shane O’Brien, Jan Hejda, and Erik Johnson are all big boys, but I don’t think they have enough ability to move the puck.
With the exception of the Mueller-Duchene-Hejduk line and Paul Stastny, I couldn’t tell you a think about the rest of the Avs upfront. The have a youngsters and grinders, but not a lot of point getters.
The Wings will have to deal with playing on back to back nights, two time zones away. Luckily, the season is young and the legs are fresh. I think the Wings should be able to out talent the Avs, much like they did the Senators.
Projected Red Wing Lines
Danny Cleary — Pavel Datsyuk — Jiri Hudler
Valtteri Filppula — Henrik Zetterberg — Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader — Darren Helm — Todd Bertuzzi
Patrick Eaves — Fabian Brunnstrom — Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom — Ian White
Niklas Kronwall — Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson — Jakub Kindl
Goalie – Jimmy Howard
Changes – I think Patrick Eaves and Fabian Brunnstrom will make their debuts tonight. Coach Babcock was quoted as saying that though they weren’t out there the first night, we shouldn’t expect to long a delay in their debut with back to back games to open the season. I think they will jump into the lineup today with everyone else staying in the same place.
Prediction: Wings 3, Avalanche 2