Avalanche Drop Heart-Breaker to the Red Wings, Lose 3-2 (OT)

USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche outplayed the Red Wings throughout, but were unable to score the go-ahead goal.

1st Period

This game had an exceptionally slow start as there were just 2 shots on net in the first 5 minutes of the game (both for Detroit). It felt like two teams afraid to take chances or make mistakes. That said, the Red Wings possession game

The Avalanche registered their first shot just under 8 minutes into the period, a dangerous deflection from Mark Olver.

Shortly after, Erik Johnson took a phantom interference penalty when Jordin Tootoo ran into him near the Avalanche net. It took just 32 seconds for the Red Wings to capitalize on the PP with a tic-tac-toe play. Pavel Datsyuk (uncovered in the slot despite being in reach of Greg Zanon AND Gabriel Landeskog) buried a wrister past Jean-Sebastian Giguere.

The Avs responded well with a hard-fought shift from Ryan O'Reilly and Cody McLeod which seemed to give the Avalanche some momentum with the puck. A few shifts later, Aaron Palushaj took a big hit along the board in order to clear the puck to David Van Der Gulik. Van Der Gulik made a nice through pass to spring Mark Olver on a breakaway who made a nifty forhand backhand move to beat Jimmy Howard to the top shelf.

Just 13 seconds later the Red Wings Gustav Nyquist countered to put the wings up 2-1. The clear tipped off Matt Duchene's stick straight to a wide open Nyquist who deked JS Giguere out of his jock-strap. Rather than keep his pad on the post, Giguere opened up the left side for Nyquist to slide the puck past the Avalanche goaltender.

A few minutes later the Avs had perhaps their best offensive chance of the period, when Erik Johnson fired a hard slapshot into the corner which ricocheted into the Red Wings crease. The Avalanche were unable to bury the puck. The rest of the period was relatively uneventful, unfortunately that included the Avalanche's first power play of the game. Abdelkader went to the box after boarding Ryan O'Reilly, but the Avalanche were unable to capitalize on the power play.

2nd Period

The second period was relatively uneventful. The most dangerous Avalanche player was probably Tyson Barrie, who played strong in all three zones of the ice and demonstrated some crisp, smart passing all period. The defenseman had all types of offense firing wristers and one-timers from the point, cycling the puck low and firing slap passes into the high slot.

The period started to heart up, however, after Shane O'Brien and Justin Abdelkader got into a pushing match near the Avalanche bench. Unfortunately, O'Brien's response to the boarding penalty gave most of the momentum to the Red Wings. Gustav Nyquist nearly struck again for the Red Wings late in the 2nd Period as he rifled a shot from the high slot that dinged off the crossbar. The Avs responded with a dangerous one-timer opportunity from PA Parenteau, which was turned away by Jimmy Howard.

As the Avalanche recollected the puck and entered the zone, Jordin Tootoo baited Parenteau into an undisciplined elbowing penalty, as Parenteau attempted to remove the Wing's agitator's head from his shoulders. Lucky for the Avalanche, Johan Franzen took an interference penalty just 14 second later, ending the Red Wings Power Play. The Avs played well during the 4-on-4 opportunity and their 14 second Power Play that followed, but only generated 1 shot on goal in that time.

The game slowed down again when both teams were at full strength, but the Red Wings regained control when Patrick Bordeleau took an unfortunate tripping penalty deep in the offensive zone. The Wings had a dangerous Power Play, including a Kyle Quincey slapshot that beat Giguere to the high post. The Avalanche killed the penalty and finished the period down 2-1.

3rd Period

The Avalanche came into the period with good energy and outplayed Detroit early on. After a pair of dangerous wrist shots from Matt Duchene, the Avs established a good cycle down low in the Red Wings zone. Matt Duchene outmuscled the Detroit defense along the boards and sent the puck to Jamie McGinn near the point. McGinn wired the puck across the ice to PA Parenteau who easily chipped the puck past Jimmy Howard to tie the game.

The goal sparked a flurry of Avalanche opportunities, which would eventually lead the Avalanche to a 14-1 shot differential in the third period. With 7:00 left in the game, David Van Der Gulik fried a puck at Jimmy Howard which squeaked under the goalies arm and sat near the goalline until Mark Olver knocked the net off its moorings for a whistle. On the next shift, Cody McLeod had two dangerous chances: a rebound in the crease followed immediately by a wrap around to the open post. With 5 minutes to go in the period, Tyson Barrie was called on a very questionable holding the stick penalty in the offensive zone. The Red Wings had a number of dangerous chances on the Power Play but J.S. Giguere made a number of excellent saves to keep the game tied. After the Power Play expired the Red Wings began to play for a tie, chipping the puck deep for changes at every opportunity and trapping when they entered the offensive zone. Just when it seemed like the game would end without incident, Niklas Kronwall took three steps into a backwards check on Jamie McGinn along the Avalanche bench. It was of course, not a penalty, as it never is with Kronwall. He is the eternal reminder that rules do not apply to everyone.

OT

In overtime the Avalanche stared off with a few strong chances, as Matt Duchene carried the puck down low and across the crease before it was poked off his stick. Halfway through the overtime, Avs defenseman Erik Johnson tried to carry the puck out of his own zone and was stood up at the blue line by Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg made a great deke on the breakaway, but J.S. Giguere came up big with the glove save. With just 16 seconds left in the overtime period, Henrik Zetterberg sent a soft shot towards the net that rebounded off J.S. Giguere and straight to Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings captain poked the game winner past J.S. Giguere as he fell on top of the Avs goalie.

3 Stars

1. Pavel Datsyuk (As Altitude reminded us 1 million times. 2 goals including the OT game winner)

2. Mark Olver (1 goal, great energy)

3. Tyson Barrie (Explosive from the blue line, especially in the 2nd and 3rd)

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