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(Sports Network) - Two games into their season, the Detroit Red Wings look like a team that will once again challenge for a Stanley Cup championship.
The Red Wings aim to begin a season with three straight victories for the first time in five years this evening when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena.
After making Stanley Cup Finals appearances in 2008 and '09, Detroit was ousted in the semifinals of last year's postseason. Ready to make a run at another title, the Red Wings have outscored their opponents, 7-2, in winning their first two games, shutting out the Ducks last Friday before Saturday's 3-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
Valtteri Filppula scored twice, including the game-winner on the power play just over six minutes into the third period, while Todd Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings, who haven't started the year 3-0 since 2005-06.
Chris Osgood, who won just seven games in 23 contests a season ago, made 26 saves in his first start of the year.
"Last season didn't go the way he wanted it," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock about Osgood. "It was good to see him play the way he did. He had a good camp and has been good right through so he's probably feeling pretty good about himself and that's important."
Babcock, who signed a four-year contract extension on Monday that should keep him on Detroit's bench through 2014-15, will likely go back tonight to Jimmy Howard, who made 21 saves in the shutout over Anaheim.
Howard is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average in three career starts versus the Avs.
Like the Red Wings, the Avalanche were able to defeat the Blackhawks last Thursday, picking up a win in their season opener, but they began a five-game road trip last night with a 4-2 setback in Philadelphia.
Brandon Yip and Milan Hejduk scored to erase a two-goal deficit, but Craig Anderson allowed three goals on 37 shots.
"We made the same mistake a couple of times by giving them three breakaways," Anderson said. "We're going to learn from it."
John-Michael Liles notched two assists in the loss to give him four helpers over Colorado's first two games.
Avs head coach Joe Sacco could give Peter Budaj his first start of the season in net this evening with his club playing on back-to-back nights. Budaj, who made just 11 starts last year, is 3-3-1 with a 2.79 GAA in seven starts against the Red Wings, while Anderson is 2-4-0 with a 2.88 GAA against them.
The Red Wings and Avalanche split four meetings last year, with each club winning once at home and on the road. Colorado has won five of the last eight meetings overall and three of the last four in Detroit.