The blank stares and silence usually seen after an Avalanche defeat were nonexistent Tuesday night inside the visitor's locker room at Joe Louis Arena. To be sure, Colorado's 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings hurt, but the Avs at times played like heavyweight contenders and begin a home-and-home series against the NHL's best team Wednesday.

"No time for that," Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said about complaining that they deserved at least a point in their first game against the Red Wings this season. "We played a great game of hockey. We just didn't score (enough) goals. Right back at it against Chicago, and we all know how they're playing right now."

Colorado plays the Blackhawks (20-0-3) on Wednesday in Chicago and Friday in Denver.

"They seem to be on their own little program, and everybody else is falling behind them," Avs coach Joe Sacco said of Chicago. "It's going to be a great test for us."

Against the Red Wings, Colorado peppered goalie Jimmy Howard with 37 shots, including 16 in the third period. The Avs cut the Red Wings' 2-0 lead in half with 1:30 to go, when Paul Stastny lifted a backhand past Howard on a 6-on-5 attack. Colorado kept goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the bench for an extra attacker in the final minute and nearly forced overtime several times.

"There's some positives to take out of this game, there's no question," Sacco said. "It's disappointing we didn't get any points, but I like the work ethic and the energy in our game."

Detroit got a skilled breakaway goal from Johan Franzen and a lucky one from Niklas Kronwall. On the latter, Giguere accidentally kicked the puck in after Kronwall's shot from the point banked hard off the end boards.

"Pretty good effort tonight," Giguere said after a 31-save performance. "In this building, we almost managed 40 shots. In that aspect of the game, I think we have to be satisfied. Eventually some pucks are going to go in. Howard played a good game, and you have to give him credit. But it was a good effort."