Hudler, who returned to the Red Wings after spending last season in Russia, came charging out of the penalty box as the puck slid toward the Colorado net in the second period. He was denied on the breakaway by goalie Peter Budaj, but the puck came back to him behind the net. When Hudler flung the puck in front, it bounced off Budaj's left skate and in for his first goal since April 5, 2009.
Hudler's goal put Detroit ahead 2-0. Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary also scored for the Red Wings, who have won nine of 11.
Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots for Detroit, allowing only John-Michael Liles' third-period goal when Colorado had a two-man advantage. Howard is 22-1-3 in his last 26 regular-season starts, dating to last season.
Bertuzzi opened the scoring on the power play with 7:02 left in the first, skating in from the right boards and beating Budaj with a wrist shot over his left shoulder. Hudler then scored 30 seconds into the second, immediately after serving a slashing penalty.
Cleary made it 3-0 with 14:08 left in the period on a backhand to Budaj's glove side, extending his goal streak to five games. It was his seventh of the season.
It was only the third loss in regulation in nine road games for Colorado, which has withstood early-season injuries to compete well in the Western Conference. The Avalanche got defenseman Adam Foote back after he missed eight games because of a concussion, but Howard was able to handle whatever pressure Colorado managed.
Liles spoiled the shutout bid, patiently working his way around a sprawling defender and putting the puck past Howard with 14:32 to play. The Red Wings went nearly 15 minutes without a shot to start the third, but they also kept Colorado from getting too many clean scoring chances, even when the Avalanche pulled Budaj with over two minutes remaining.
Colorado was coming off a 5-1 win over Columbus on Friday night.
Notes: Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom extended his point streak to 11 games with an assist on Hudler's goal. Pavel Datsyuk had his 10-game streak snapped. ... The Avalanche won in Detroit on Oct. 12, 5-4 in a shootout. ... Former Red Wings forward Dino Ciccarelli, a recent inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame, dropped the ceremonial first puck. ... Detroit's Kris Draper (hernia surgery) skated before the game but didn't play. He has missed all 15 games this season.