The Detroit Red Wings had a more productive offense than the Colorado Avalanche for the first half of the 2022-23 NHL season.
But you could not have known that based Monday’s game between two teams in Denver.
The Avalanche, led by Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, scored the first five goals of the game and then cruised to a 6-3 win against the Red Wings in the first-game of Detroit’s three-game road trip. MacKinnon had two goals and two assists for Colorado, while Makar had two goals and an assist.
“Probably the bottom line is they had a couple of players have some pretty special nights tonight and that was probably the difference in the game,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said.
Colorado is now 7-0-2 in its last nine games against Detroit. The Red Wings haven’t beaten Colorado since 2017.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche have been run over by injuries this season and rank 25th in scoring in 2022-23 with an average of 2.93 goals per game. The Red Wings are 20th with a 3.10 goals per game average. But that’s misleading because the Avalanche injured players are starting to return. Valeri Nichushkin played against Detroit for his first game since Dec. 27.
The Avs have scored 13 goals in winning their past two games. They are four points out of a playoff spot, but won’t be out of the playoffs long if they continue to score at this clip.
The Red Wings (18-17-7) have now lost five of their last seven games. In those seven games, they have given up an average of four goals per game.
Having Nichushkin back is sooo big for the Avs forward depth it's not even funny
— Dude Where's Makar (@joelthesakic) January 16, 2023
The Red Wings lost the special teams battle against Colorado. The Avs were 2-for-4 on the power play and Detroit was 0-for-2.
The Red Wings have made a habit of falling behind by multiple goals in the first period. They were down 2-0 in the first period and 5-0 by the 16-minute mark of the second period
Since coming out of the Christmas break, they have played 10 games and given up multiple first-period leads in five of those games.
They fell behind 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, although they were able to come back and win that game. The Red Wings fell behind 3-0 to Buffalo and lost 6-3. They were down 2-0 to Ottawa before coming back to win that game 4-2. They were down 3-0 to Columbus and lost 4-3.
Ville Husso started in goal (stopped 17 of 22 shots) for Detroit, but he was pulled in favor of Magnus Hellberg for the start of the third period. Hellberg is scheduled to start in goal Tuesday in Arizona.
Andrew Copp, David Perron and Defenseman Ben Chiarot scored third period goals for Detroit against the Avalanche. Perron had a goal and an assist, his first points in nine games.