The rivalry is reignited in Detroit on Sunday between the Colorado Avalanche and Red Wings. Okay, not really, this isn’t the 90’s. A lot of the luster has been taken out of this series over the years, but it’s still always a good time when the Avs and Wings get together. At the pinnacle of the rivalry, there was blood and bench clearing brawls, which included goaltending fights.
Patrick Roy knows all about going toe-to-toe with Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood. The first of those brawls coming in 1997 and a rivalry was born. If I only had a time machine I’d go back to that era of the NHL. Don’t expect as many fists to be flying this evening, nor are the Red Wings as good of a team, but it should make for a good matchup at Little Caesars Arena.
The Red Wings are coming off an impressive victory over the Bruins in Boston last time. They showed up to play and were the aggressors in a 4-2 win. The Wings have officially fought out of the hole they were in. They go into Sunday with a record of 12-11-1. Above .500 and they resemble a team who could fight for a late seed in the playoffs. Unlikely to happen but a .500 team is much better than the slop on the ice from October.
While they’re playing better hockey, the Avalanche have been on fire with a record of 6-1 in their last seven games. The Blues snapped a six-game winning streak Friday, but the overall body of work has been nice for the Avs thus far. They’re looking strong with a mark of 15-6-4 going into Sunday. Jimmy Howard was between the pipes last night, so expect Jonathan Bernier for the Wings tonight. Semyon Varlamov is expected to counter for the Avalanche in net. Get our free Avalanche vs. Red Wings pick below.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Detroit Red Wings Pick
The Avalanche needed a minute to get comfortable with Jared Bednar as their head coach, but in his third year as the bench boss, he has his team buying into his plan. Shedding Matt Duchene was addition by subtraction as well. His attitude wasn’t helping anything and almost instantly the team looked better without Duchene. In Bednar’s first season, the Avalanche went 22-56-4, which was on the heels of Patrick Roy abruptly stepping down.
They turned a corner and went to the playoffs last season, and now in his third season everything has seemed to come full circle. Colorado are 2nd in the Western Conference, with only the Predators ahead of them in the standings. There haven’t been too many noticeable weaknesses with this team. The defence is 9th in the league, so that could improve, but with a top-rated offence, that kind of blue line will more than suffice.
The Avalanche are 2nd in the NHL with 3.73 goals per game. They were knotted with the Lightning for 1st, but that was until the Lightning beat the Panthers, 5-4, last night in Sunrise. In their last ten games, they’ve recorded 4 goals per game. Varlamov has had a solid campaign as well, posting a 2.36 GAA and 0.927 save percentage.
The Avalanche have felt comfortable playing in Detroit, as they look to advance to 5-1 in Detroit in six trips to the Motor City. Look for a letdown from the Wings after knocking off an Original 6 rival last night on the road. They have to come home to try and tame the Avalanche now, which seems like a tough order of business. The Avs are being undervalued with this price here, which makes them a solid selection in the NHL on Sunday.