Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Avs look to sweep road trip with win at Detroit

Field Level Media
18 Mar 2023, 02:19 GMT+10

The Colorado Avalanche can finish off a productive road trip with a victory in Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

The Avalanche have won four straight, with the last three victories coming on the road. The trip began with an 8-4 triumph in Montreal. Then they won on back-to-back nights, edging Toronto 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday and Ottawa 5-4 on Thursday.

Colorado lost four of five games (1-3-1) prior to the winning streak.

"I think we're trending in the right direction again," forward Mikko Rantanen said. "We're getting together as a team, you know? This is the time that we need to do it. Only 15 or so games left, so we've got to really dial it up here."

Rantanen scored his 45th goal as the Avalanche built a 5-2 lead against the Senators through two periods, then held off the home team's third-period charge.

Colorado never trailed, as defenseman Cale Makar and Valeri Nichushkin scored in the first five minutes.

"The first goal is the biggest goal, for me," coach Jared Bednar said. "We wanted to make sure that we were energized coming out tonight. Even though it's a back-to-back for us, it's their first game back from a (five-game) road trip and we know how difficult that can be."

Lars Eller, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Washington Capitals for a second-round pick in 2025, scored his first goal for Colorado late in the second period.

"He's a wily, veteran guy in a lot of ways," Bednar said. "It was nice to see him sort of bang that one home. It was a big moment in the game."

In the first meeting with the Red Wings on Jan. 16, the Avalanche won 6-3 as Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists.

MacKinnon (five goals, seven assists) carries a seven-game point streak into the rematch, as does Makar (three goals, 10 assists). Rantanen (four goals, six assists) will look to extend a six-game point streak.

Detroit has lost eight of its last 10 games (2-7-1). The Red Wings haven't played since Tuesday, when they dropped a 2-1 decision in Nashville.

Simon Edvinsson, the team's top pick in the 2021 draft, could make his NHL debut. He was called up from the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins under emergency conditions on Friday. Edvinsson, 20, leads the Griffins' defensemen with 27 points in 51 games.

Detroit needs another defenseman because Ben Chiarot is out "week-to-week" with an upper-body injury, according to coach Derek Lalonde.

"Ben has been dealing with something," Lalonde said. "We don't expect him Saturday. He might be in that week-to-week range. We'll see him before the season is out, but he's been dealing with something for a little bit now and he won't be available Saturday."

Though the Wings have faded out of playoff contention, they've still shown some grit over the last four games. They defeated Chicago and split two games with NHL leader Boston prior to the one-goal loss to the Predators.

"There's enough experience in here, it's still the NHL and you want to play and you want to prove how good a team you are, and individually as well," defenseman Olli Maatta said. "As a team, we have, what, four weeks until the end of the season? So make the best out of it."

--Field Level Media

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