Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 8th
Red Wings3Final
Game 2: Tuesday, November 8th
Red Wings5
Game 3: Sunday, December 4th
Red Wings2Final
Game 4: Saturday, February 25th
Red Wings3

Red Wings 3

(2-0-0, 4 pts)

Avalanche 0

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

9:00 PM ET, October 8, 2011

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
DET 0 1 23
COL 0 0 00

J. Franzen (Red Wings - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

T. Conklin (Red Wings - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: 1.000

S. Varlamov (Avalanche - G): Saves: 36, Save Pct.: .947

Red Wings-Avalanche Preview


Despite a successful season opener, the Detroit Red Wings are already looking for ways to improve.

The Red Wings hope for a more complete effort when they hit the road to face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

Rookie Cory Emmerton had a goal with an assist and Drew Miller set up a pair of scores in Detroit's 5-3 home win over Ottawa on Friday night.

Though five different Red Wing players recorded the first five goals of the game, coach Mike Babcock was not happy that his club allowed the Senators to score three times in the third period to make the game closer than he would have liked.

"That's something we've got to get past, we were lackadaisical," Babcock said of the final 20 minutes. "We let them back in the game. There is no way you should do that."

Ottawa scored twice on three power-play chances. It's an area that already has the Red Wings concerned after they finished in the middle of the pack while killing off 82.3 percent of the opposition's power-play chances in 2010-11.

"Our penalty killing has to be sharper," said star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who scored an unassisted goal. "They got two power-play goals to get back into the game. Our penalty killing has to be better than that in this league."

Colorado managed just two goals on 21 power-play opportunities while splitting the four-game season series versus Detroit in 2010-11. Lidstrom has two goals with 11 assists in his last six games against the Avalanche. Todd Bertuzzi, who scored the Red Wings' first goal Friday, had one with four assists versus Colorado last season.

Though the Avalanche held their own against Detroit in 2010-11, their 30 wins overall were the fewest by the franchise since it relocated to Denver from Quebec in 1995. Colorado finished with 68 points, one season after reaching the playoffs.

However, with club legend Joe Sakic in the front office, young talent like Matt Duchene leading the way and the additions of former Capital Semyon Varlamov and veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net, Colorado is ready to leave the past behind and concentrate on better things this season.

"We don't talk about last year too much," said 35-year-old forward Milan Hejduk, who tied Sakic's club record by recording his 11th consecutive 20-goal season with 22 and 34 assists in 2010-11. "This is a different team."

The 20-year-old Duchene, who tied for the team lead with 27 goals and 40 assists in his second season, is primed for even more success while letting his play set the tone for the rest of the team.

"I'd like to be a leader on a hockey team," said Duchene, who recorded four goals and three assists versus Detroit in 2010-11.

Varlamov, 11-9-5 with a 2.23 goals-against average for Washington last season, is expected to face Detroit for the first time while making his Colorado debut Saturday.

"He's such an athletic goalie," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "This is going to be a good opportunity for him."

Colorado, which dropped its final four games of 2010-11, is looking to win its third straight season opener.