Red Wings seek to dish Roy, Avalanche 1st loss

Jonas Gustavsson to make 3rd-straight start in net as Detroit visits Colorado

Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:44:59 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 17 2013 04:54:18 PM EDT
DENVER -

The Colorado Avalanche look to match the best start in franchise history when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

Colorado has become the surprise team of the NHL, beginning the season with six victories after finishing last in the Western Conference in 2012-13 with a 16-25-7 record. The Avalanche aim to equal the 7-0-0 start in 1985-86 when the franchise was known as the Quebec Nordiques.

What makes the team's start more amazing is that it's being led by a first-year coach in Patrick Roy, who helped Colorado win a pair of Stanley Cups during his Hall-of-Fame career. Roy and Mario Tremblay of the 1995-96 Montreal Canadiens are the only coaches in history to begin their NHL careers with six straight wins. The Red Wings, who are off to a fast start in their first season in the East, enter with a three-game winning streak.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN (Detroit), Altitude (Colorado)

ABOUT THE RED WINGS (5-2-0): Jonas Gustavsson is expected to make his third consecutive start as Jimmy Howard is listed as questionable with a bruised left hand. Captain Henrik Zetterberg has stormed out of the gate, recording team highs of five goals and nine points in his first seven games. Detroit has won its last three meetings with Colorado, all by one goal.

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (6-0-0): Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in June's draft, is tied with Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau for the team lead with seven points. The 18-year-old has recorded at least one point in five of his six games and scored his first career goal Saturday at Washington. Semyon Varlamov has been outstanding in goal, posting a 5-0-0 record with a 1.20 goals-against average and league-leading .965 save percentage.

OVERTIME

1. The Avalanche have allowed a league-low six goals in six games.

2. Varlamov is six wins away from matching his total from last season.

3. Duchene enters with a three-game goal-scoring streak and a team-high five tallies.


Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson (50) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52) protect the goal against Boston Bruins right wing Reilly Smith (18) who tries to get to the puck near the crease in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013.

AP Photo/Elise Amendola