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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 27th (All times eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (23-7-4) at Colorado Avalanche (17-16-1), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings will try to rebound from just their third loss of December when they visit the Colorado Avalanche for this evening's battle at the Pepsi Center.

The Red Wings and Avs have built a fierce rivalry with each other over the years, but Detroit has dominated the series recently. In addition to sweeping Colorado in last year's conference semifinals, the Red Wings have won five of seven and 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings with Colorado.

However, the Avalanche were able to pick up a win in the series back on December 15 in Detroit, as they posted a 3-2 decision to halt a four-game losing streak against the Red Wings.

Detroit has still won two straight and seven of its last eight regular-season tilts in Denver.

The Red Wings had a three-game winning streak halted Friday in Nashville and fell to 8-3-0 this month. Dan Ellis made 38 saves and Vernon Fiddler netted the eventual game-winner late in the second period as the Predators downed first-place Detroit, 3-2, in a Central Division matchup at the Sommet Center.

Dan Cleary and Mikael Samuelsson lit the lamp for Detroit. Ty Conklin allowed three goals on 31 shots in taking the loss. Conklin was making his fourth straight start in place of Chris Osgood, who is battling a groin strain.

Red Wings rearguard Nicklas Lidstrom suffered an ankle injury early in the game and left the ice without returning during the second period. The six-time Norris Trophy winner is questionable for tonight's contest.

With an assist, Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk ran his point streak to six games. He has five goals and eight assists over his scoring streak.

Detroit is 11-4-2 as the visiting team this year and has lost three of its last four road tests.

The Avalanche have been up-and-down in recent weeks, alternating wins and losses over their last six games. Colorado, which beat Phoenix in overtime in its last contest, has a 6-4-1 record this month and hasn't won back-to-back games since December 7 and 9.

Colorado earned a 5-4 decision over the visiting Coyotes on Tuesday as Brett Clark scored the game-winner in OT. It was just the second goal of the season for Clark, who took a pass in the slot from Tyler Arnason and blasted it past Ilya Bryzgalov's stick for the deciding goal.

Paul Stastny, John-Michael Liles and Ryan Smyth each had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who have won five of eight. Clark also recorded an assist, while Milan Hejduk scored in the victory. Andrew Raycroft allowed four goals on 23 shots in the win.

The Avs won the game, but unfortunately lost Stastny -- the team's leading scorer -- to a broken forearm. Although no official timetable for his return has been revealed, Stastny, who has 31 points on the year, is expected to be sidelined until at least late January.

Tonight marks the middle portion of a three-game homestand for the Avs, who are 9-6-0 as the host this year.

12/27 11:03:30 ET


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