Slumping Red Wings take on Avalanche

The Detroit Red Wings will try to avoid a fourth loss in five games on Friday night as they conclude their season series with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Red Wings have made the playoffs in 21 straight seasons and currently sit seventh overall in the Western Conference with 41 points. While that is only three points back of San Jose and Minnesota for fourth place in the conference, Detroit is just two points ahead of ninth-place Edmonton and Columbus.

Detroit trails first-place Chicago in the Central Division by 17 points with just 11 games to play.

The Red Wings were dealt a 7-1 home loss by the Blackhawks on Saturday, but rebounded the following day versus the visiting Avalanche. Justin Abdelkader, Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner all had goals in the 3-2 win, while Jimmy Howard made 22 saves.

Colorado did get third-period goals from Jamie McGinn and Matt Duchene to make it interesting, but lost for the second time in Detroit this season and for the eighth time in the last 12 meetings in this series overall.

The Red Wings were unable to string together a second victory as they allowed three goals in the second period on Thursday night in a 4-2 loss at the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit was outshot 20-5 in the frame.

"It was a bad period for us," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said of the second stanza. "We struggled a bit. We turned the puck over a little bit too much and they took advantage of that."

Dan Cleary pulled Detroit to within a goal when he scored a 6-on-4 power-play goal with Howard on the bench with 1:13 to play, but Phoenix's Martin Hanzal iced things with an empty-net goal.

Valtteri Filppula also had a goal and Howard made 34 saves in the loss.

Colorado followed up its loss in Detroit with a 3-1 setback in Nashville on Tuesday. It was the Avalanche's 13th straight defeat on the road, where the club is 2-14-3 this season compared to 10-6-1 at home. That is the main reason why the Avs sit last in the NHL with just 28 points.

Duchene scored in Tuesday's loss and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 35 saves in defeat, Colorado's 10th in its last 12 games overall.

"Giguere played one heck of a game for us, and that was definitely not the way to repay him," Duchene said.

Duchene has scored in three of his last four games and leads the Avs with 15 goals on the season. He has six goals and 13 points in 14 career games versus the Red Wings.