The Colorado Avalanche opened their season at home against their old rivals, the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit used two fantastic shots to beat the new Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov on their way to a 3-0 nothing victory. It was their second victory in two nights after they bludgeoned the Ottawa Senators by a 5-3 margin.
They haven't enjoyed that level of success since Opening Weekend.
In those first two games, Detroit scored eight goals. In their last 10 games, they have scored a total of 21 goals en route to a 4-5-1 record -- including going six straight games without a win. Nick Lidstrom and Jonathan Franzen both have five goals apiece, but the rest of the team has been mostly absent from the boxscore. Henrik Zetterberg has three goals, but Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwell, and Jiri Hudler only have two goals apiece. The elite depth that has carried the Red Wings for so long has simply not shown up this season, leading some to question if the NHL's oldest team (average age: 29.578 years) has simply become too old.
Jimmy Howard has been good (1.77 GAA). Backup Ty Coknklin has not (3.37 GAA). The defense has been their stalwart self, allowing only 29 goals on the season. The real problem is goal-scoring. If Detroit wants to get back to their Cup-Contender status this season, their veteran depth needs to show up on a consistent basis.
On the Colorado side, the Avalanche continue to be an enigma; impotent at home, dominant on the road. Semyon Varlamov has played well, but has shown some cracks from his early-season invincibility. He was shaky against the Dallas Stars this past weekend, but gets the start once again in net for Colorado. The newly created Matt Duchene/Paul Stastny/Milan Hejduk top line has been effective in their first two games, combining for five goals. Against a veteran Detroit blue line, they'll have to carry the scoring load.
Puck drops at 5:30 p.m. MDT from Joe Louis Arena.