DETROIT, MI - MARCH 05: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a save as Ryan O'Reilly #90 of the Colorado Avalanche crashes the net during a NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on March 5, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings aim to shake ugly loss tonight vs Avs

NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Red Wings are only on a two-game losing streak, but it seems worse after their ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday.

“Ugly is an understatement,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in a Detroit News report. “Obviously, preparation and work ethic are two things you need to be successful in any walk of life, and we weren’t prepared and didn’t compete at a high enough level.”

On top of that, Detroit was playing without captain Henrik Zetterberg due to a groin injury and he might miss tonight’s game as well.

With or without him, the Red Wings need to put that loss behind them and beat the Colorado Avalanche. Otherwise Detroit might see its narrow lead on the eighth seed slip away.

The Red Wings are three points ahead of the ninth place San Jose Sharks, but Detroit has also played in two more games. Meanwhile, the Avalanche are dead last in the Western Conference, making them one of the few teams that aren’t still in the battle for a playoff spot.

The Avalanche have won just two of their last 10 games, but they proved that they weren’t going to just roll over with their 1-0 overtime victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

“It’s been a tough stretch here, the last little while, but not many times have we had a complaint about effort, or work,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco told the Denver Post after their win on Saturday. “This afternoon we got rewarded. I thought we played really hard.”

We’ll see if that effort is enough to add to Detroit’s woes, or if the Red Wings will shake off their embarrassing loss and beat Colorado.

Probable goaltenders: DET – Jimmy Howard (14-10-4, 2.47 GAA, .915 SV%) | COL – Semyon Varlamov (10-16-3, 2.93 GAA, .906 SV%)

Top scorers: DET – Pavel Datsyuk (11-24-35, 34 GP) | COL – P.A. Parenteau – (14-21-35, 34 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Detroit – Forwards: Mikael Samuelsson (upper body), Zetterberg (groin), Todd Bertuzzi (back) Defenseman: Kyle Quincey (face)
Colorado – Forwards: Milan Hejduk (shoulder), David Jones (knee), Paul Stastny (foot), Steve Downie (knee) Defenseman: Ryan Wilson (ankle)

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.