Detroit Red Wings (29-12-9) at Colorado Avalanche (22-18-11)
|Date & Time||Thursday February 5, 2015, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Colorado Avalanche -107 / Detroit Red Wings -103 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
One of the surprises in the Eastern Conference this season has been the play of the Detroit Red Wings. While it’s hard to underestimate a club with the pedigree the Red Wings still have it seems almost impossible that they keep finding ways to do this year after year. Currently 8-2-0 in their last 10 games the Red Wings have themselves in third place in the Atlantic Division standings heading into an old school renewed rivalry with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night. It will be more of a challenge for Detroit because they’ll be playing at the Pepsi Center instead of on home ice where they’ve been great all season long. The Red Wings haven’t played since Saturday night when they took on the New York Islanders on home ice and came away victorious. It was the man advantage that made the difference in this one as Tomas Tatar scored his 22nd goal of the season with the Red Wings on the power play in the first period and Gustav Nyquist who put the game out of reach with his 20th of the season in the third. Jonathan Ericsson also chipped in with his third goal of the season that came just moments after an Islanders penalty had expired. Ericsson’s goal increased the Red Wings lead to 3-1 after New York had cut the lead to one with a third period goal. Petr Mrazek picked up his 11th win of the season with 22 saves on the night. Now the Red Wings will travel to Colorado to take on an Avalanche club that is fighting for their playoff lives right now.
Colorado enters the contest winners of two straight, currently sitting four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference playoff race. After a tumultuous start to the season it’s impressive that Patrick Roy has been able to rally his troops to the point where they’re in position to make a run at a playoff spot over the final two months of the season. Make no mistake about it, this is going to be a tall task for a club that has been as inconsistent as the Avalanche have been this year. Tuesday night’s win might have been the biggest of the year for Colorado as they rallied from a 2-0 third period deficit against the Dallas Stars. Ryan O’Reilly’s 10th goal of the season got the Avalanche within a goal and that set the stage for the dramatics of Tyson Barrie scoring with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Colorado rode that momentum into the overtime period where they out shot the Stars 8-1 but were unable to convert. After 11 rounds in the shootout it was Max Talbot who finally scored the game winner to get the Avalanche the critical extra point in the standings. Now they’ll have to be ready to take on a Detroit club that can give them fits if they don’t come ready to play on Thursday night.
This is tough game to call with the way both teams are playing right now. The Avalanche are still in the race in the Western Conference but they just haven’t played all that well for much of the year. Detroit isn’t as good away from home but if they play their game they should have enough to take this one.