|Red Wings get Dekeyser back against Avalanche|
DETROIT -- Defenseman Danny Dekeyser returns after missing most of the season for the Detroit Red Wings when they meet the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena.
Colorado will be playing the second of back-to-back games after a 5-2 loss to the Predators in Nashville on Saturday night.
Dekeyser has missed 17 games since sustaining a fracture ankle Oct. 10, in Dallas while blocking a shot.
"At first it looked like a sprain but the more it went on, they took a second look at it and there was a small fracture in there so it just took a little while to heal," DeKeyser told mlive.com. "It wasn't deeling great in the boot when I tried skating a few weeks ago, so just kind of shut it down for a couple of weeks and let it heal up."
DeKeyser was paired with defenseman Mike Green during Saturday's practice.
"Mobility is fine. It's just about getting back into the swing of things and getting back into game mentality," DeKeyser said.
The Red Wings (10-8-2) are 6-2-1 in their last nine games.
Detroit coach Jeff Blashill credits the team's recent success to playing north-south hockey with pace and urgency.
"I think if you're an opponent of ours lately you'd say we were really fast," Blashill said. "I've heard that from a number of opponents, whether it was players talking to players or talking to coaches."
The Red Wings have also simplified their game.
"When we do that we spend less time in our own end, spend more time in their end," center and captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I think especially in the neutral zone, too, we're not bringing pucks back as much as we did, we try to go north right away. With the speed we have, it makes it easier for us."
Colorado (9-8-1) got goals from defenseman Andrei Mironov, the first of his NHL career, and left winger J.T. Compher -- his second goal of the season -- against Nashville. Mironov also had an assist.
Both goals came in the third period after the score was 5-0.
The Avalanche outshot the Predators 31-24, but Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made 29 saves and was the game's No. 2 star. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped 19 shots.
The Avalanche were 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Predators scored two power-play goals in four chances.
"I felt really good coming into this game because I think it was a real good challenge for us," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said on NHL.com. "I liked our guys' pregame skate this morning, just sort of our mindset coming into this one. I liked the way we stuck with it a little bit too, but special teams, the power play frustrated some of our guys. The turning point for us is we probably make a mistake, or we do make a mistake on the penalty kill at the end of the first period and they get that one."
Craig Smith gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal with 34.7 seconds left in the first period.
Bednar said that his team made it too easy on Rinne.
"The one thing we didn't do is we didn't get in front of Rinne for the screens, so he was seeing them," Bednar said. "We had a couple of dangerous chances ... He made some nice saves, and then the entries, we were a little bit stubborn on our breakouts and entries in that five-minute power play, and we just didn't execute."