Game 37: Red Wings 4, Avalanche 2

Well, it wasn't a huge surprise, but it was disappointing nonetheless.  The Red Wings beat the Avalanche 4-2 at home in front of the first sellout crowd at the Pepsi Center in a long time.  Helping fill out The Can was a fair number of Detroit fans, and they certainly went home happy---which I'm sure they're used to by now.

It's annoying to hear, especially when Mike Haynes and Peter McNab go on and on about it for sixty minutes, but the Wings are certainly the best team in hockey.  They're so deep it's ridiculous, especially considering that they're also the oldest, shortest and lightest team in the entire NHL.  Small in stature, huge in talent.

The Avs put up a decent showing, however, keeping the feared Detroit power play onslaught at bay by taking just one minor penalty (Brad Richardson for high sticking) the whole game.  The Colorado defense, though prone to an occasional Karlis Skrastins meltdown, was competent and confident through most of the second and third periods.

Peter Budaj played well, stopping 25 of 28 shots, including some huge shots from the point, but got beat on Jiri Hudler's great game-winning shot (pictured above) in the second period that went near side top shelf.  A tough stop for anyone, whether Boots was a little out of position or not.  He wasn't even sure:

"It was a good shot by him, but maybe I was a little out of position," Budaj said. "I'll have to go back and look at the tape and see what happened and what I can improve on."

The loss certainly wasn't a meltdown for Budaj---he got beat by the most powerful offense in the NHL.  God I hate Detroit.

On the bright side, power forward Cody McLeod scored his first goal of the season near the end of the first period, making the score 2-1 going into intermission.  Non-power forward Marek Svatos tied the game early in the second off a rebound from an excellent shot by Jaroslav Hlinka.  The Svatos-Hlinka-McLeod line was responsible for both of Colorado's goals.

The Avs have to shake off the end to their six-game point streak and get ready to face Los Angeles in Denver on Saturday.  That should be an easy win, but I'll try not to make too many assumptions.

Stars of the Game:

  1. Valtteri Filppula (2g, 0a)
  1. Dominik Hasek (22sv, .917)
  1. Cody McLeod (1g, 0a)
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