DENVER - DECEMBER 27: Cody McLeod #55 of the Colorado Avalanche crashes through the crease behind goalie Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings after McLeod collided with Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Red Wings at the Pepsi Center on December 27 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
It was bound to happen. The Avalanche were outplayed so often last year, and yet they kept finding ways to win. Tonight, the shoe was on the other foot in a big way. Despite dominating play, getting nearly twice as many shots on net, and creating more scoring chances, the Avs come away with an overtime loss as Chris Osgood notched his 400th win.
The Avs put pressure on immediately, and Matt Hunwick pinched in to get a shot on net that just hit the post and careened away into the corner. Between strong forechecking and repeatedly good shifts, Colorado had the Wings scrambling. Tempers started flaring a bit, and of course, Cody McLeod was in the middle of it. Then Matt Duchene started off the scoring by netting a rebound that came from some hard work by Milan Hejduk who set up Tomas Fleischmann with a shot on net.
At the 5 minute mark, TJ Galiardi took a bad, open ice penalty, putting the Wings on their first of 6 power plays for the night. Within 20 seconds, Jiri Hudler wristed one home, beating Peter Budaj glove side, to tie it up at 1. The Avs answered right back, however, as Gali took a feed from Jones and found the back of the net with a nice wrist shot. 2-1 Avs. Shortly after that, the Avs got their first chance on the power play as Darren Helm hooked Philippe Dupuis. They got some good pressure going, enough to draw another penalty. This time it was on Justin Abdelkader for tripping. Unfortunately, the Wings killed off the 5 on 3, an indication of things to come. It was the Avs turn for a penalty this time: John-Michael Liles for crosschecking. It only took 8 seconds for the Wings to tie things up off a one-timer by Johan Franzen. More McLeod fisticuffs and yet another Avs’ penalty, this time on Winnik for a (weak) hooking call. The boys in burgundy and blue did a better job on the kill and even got a breakaway chance. However, Wilson got totally mauled on his way into the slot, negating the opportunity. No call. That would be a trend for the night. I’m going to say it once and once only: the officiating was terrible. I’m not blaming the loss on the lack of calls, but I lost count of how many times the Avs were tripped up, and no call was made. Like they would all night, the "second" line of Duchene-Fleischmann-Hejduk were all over the Wings to finish the period, but the teams went into the locker rooms tied at 2.
The Avs came out in the second period dictating the pace of play and spending a lot of time in the Wings’ zone. Liles drew a tripping penalty on a bit of an embellishment, but the power play ended early due to Jones taking a horribly timed and unnecessary interference call. The teams traded some chances on the 4-on-4 as Osgood stacked the pads to stop a shot by Hunwick, and Budaj completely robbed Niklas Kronwall. Around 8 minutes into the period, Jonathon Ericsson threw Fleischmann to the ice in front of the net, earning him two minutes in the box for interference. This time, the Avs got some nice cycling going, but Osgood was up to the challenge. Paul Stastny had an open net and sure fire goal, but instead, he caught Fleishmann’s skates as Flash was inexplicably cruising between SoS and the net. Later, Ruslan Salei slashed at McLeod and got penalty number 5 for the Wings. Again, the Avs’ power play came up empty. Then, at the other end of the ice, Kevin Shattenkirk took a hard slap shot from Chris Draper straight in the face. He was down for a while and obviously in pain. Fortunately, he was able to return to the game mid-way through the third. At the end of two, the score was still tied at 2, despite the fact the Avs got 22 shots on net that period.
Less than two minutes into the third, the Avalanche went on their sixth power play of the night as Henrik Zetterberg got called for tripping. This one wasn’t any better than the previous 5, though. By this time in the game, the Red Wings looked slow and tired. Colorado continually beat them to the pucks, kept play in their zone, and outworked them at every shift. Yet, the Avs still could not convert. The few shots the Wings got on net were good ones, however, and Budaj kept the boys in it more than once. Ryan O’Byrne got called for
mauling holding, and the Wings went on their 5th power play of the night. Sadly for the Avs, Detroit’s power play was much better, and they took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the Avs. Nicklas Lidstrom from Hudler and [redacted]. 3-2 Wings. With less than three minutes left, the Avs got back on the power play as Kronwall tripped Winnik. Fortunately, Duchene came up big again to tie it up: Liles with a shot from the point, Stastny with a tip in, rebound, and Dutchy beat a flopping Osgood. Budaj ensured an OT by making a last second save right at the buzzer.
It didn’t take long for the Avs to put the Wings on the power play again. This time it was on Boods for tripping Helm. It would prove to be the death of them as Kronwall got the overtime winner on a huge slapshot that beat Budaj outright.
Before the game, I said to myself, "This game will be decided by special teams." I couldn’t have been more right. The Wings capitalized on their power play chances; the Avs did not. Hard loss, but at least they got a point out of it..It’s time to start winning at home, though, boys.
Osgood - 43 saves
Kronwall - 1 GWG, 1 Asst
Duchene - 2 goals
- Happy Birthday to Paul Stastny! Wings scouts were in town but decided he wasn't seasoned enough for them, given that he's only 25. Congrats, Stazz!
- Galiardi played in his 100th NHL game tonight. Great job, tonight TJ. Hope you stick around for hundreds more.
- Osgood did something but I just can't remember. Must not have been important.
- Avs had not let in this many power play goals against since Nov. 8, 2009 vs. Edmonton; the Wings had not scored this many power play goals since scoring 5 against Nashville on Nov. 18, 2009.
- Reported attendance: 18,007
- Wings scored on 4 of their 6 power plays. Avs went 1 for 7.
- Osgood made 46 saves on a season high 49 shots by the Avs; 23 of those shots the Avs threw at him during the second period alone.
- Second line of Duchene-Hejduk-Fleischmann were all over the ice tonight, both defensively and offensively. It's nice to have the Duke back.
- Stastny needs Stewart. His quality of players right now just isn't cutting it shift in and shift out.
- Lots of scraps and shoving, but the dirty seemed to be kept to a minimum and not a single fight!
- I think Hunwick is finally settling in.