(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Red Wings will pay tribute to one of the
franchise's all-time greats on Thursday, as the club is set to retire the
number of Nicklas Lidstrom before hosting the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis
Lidstrom's No. 5 will be lifted to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony on
Thursday, as the Red Wings honor one of the best players to suit up for the
Original Six franchise.
"It just seems so much bigger than I imagined," Lidstrom recently told the Red
Wings official website. "I've been looking up at the rafters for a long time
and seeing those names and it's a little surreal that my name is going to be
going up there too and it's a tremendous honor to have my name up there as
A four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner during 20
seasons with the Red Wings, Lidstrom is considered by many to be the greatest
European player in the history of the NHL.
Lidstrom, who spent his entire career in Detroit, helped the Red Wings make
the playoffs in each of his 20 seasons. The Red Wings are trying to make the
postseason this spring for a 23rd straight year, but the club is currently
one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The injury-plagued Red Wings received some much-needed forward help for the
playoff push before Wednesday's trade deadline, picking up veteran center
David Legwand from the Nashville Predators.
The Red Wings shipped forward Patrick Eaves, a conditional third-round pick
and forward prospect Calle Jarnkrok to the Predators for Legwand, who was tied
for the lead on Nashville with 40 points this season. A former No. 2 overall
pick of Nashville in 1998, the 33-year-old is the franchise's all-time leader
in games (956), goals (210), assists (356) and points (566).
Legwand, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, had 10
goals and 30 assists in 62 games for the Predators this season.
The Red Wings are hobbled by injuries at the moment, especially at center.
Detroit is currently dealing with injuries to centers Henrik Zetterberg
(back), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Stephen Weiss (hernia) and Darren Helm (upper
On Wednesday, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland announced Datsyuk will be
shut down for the next three weeks to help him recover from his knee injury.
Detroit hopes to bounce back from a loss on Lidstrom's special night. The Red
Wings had won two straight following the Olympic break before getting dealt a
4-3 regulation loss Tuesday night in New Jersey.
Stephen Gionta's goal with 36.6 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the
Devils to the win.
Johan Franzen continued his recent hot streak for Detroit, notching a goal and
an assist in the loss. Brendan Smith and Todd Bertuzzi also tallied for the
Red Wings, while Jimmy Howard finished with 25 saves.
"At the end of the day we didn't play well enough defensively to win this
game," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
Detroit posted a 4-2 win at Colorado on Oct. 17 and will try to sweep the
season series on Thursday. The Red Wings have won four straight and six of
eight overall in this series and the Avalanche have lost two in a row and four
of five in the Motor City.
The Avalanche are in third place in the Central Division and currently hold a
10-point lead over Minnesota for the last of the division's three automatic
bids to the playoffs.
Colorado won its third straight game Tuesday night in Chicago, as Tyson
Barrie, Ryan O'Reilly and Paul Stastny scored third-period goals to support a
36-save effort from Semyon Varlamov in a 4-2 win over the Blackhawks.
Maxime Talbot also tallied and Erik Johnson notched three assists in the win.
Barrie and O'Reilly also recorded assists during the Avalanche's final-period
The Avalanche stayed relatively quiet at Wednesday's trade deadline, making
one trade to improve their depth in net. Colorado acquired goaltender Reto
Berra from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a second-round selection in the
2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The 27-year-old Berra joins a crowded goaltender situation in Colorado, which
already has Varlamov as a No. 1 option and veteran Jean-Sebastian Giguere as a
backup. Giguere is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season's
Colorado is capping a two-game road trip on Thursday before heading back to
Denver for a four-game homestand that is set to start Saturday against St.
Louis. The Avs are 19-9-2 as the away team this season.
The Sports Network