By Christy Hammond
The Detroit Red Wings (23-7-5) lost 4-3 in the shootout against the Colorado Avalanche (18-16-1) at the Pepsi Center. While the Avs won’t be happy they allowed a three-goal lead in the first period to slip away, they will certainly be pleased to get the two points against the Wings especially while missing their leading scorer Paul Stastny and captain Joe Sakic. Detroit was also without their captain Nicklas Lidstrom, who is out with a swollen ankle after blocking a shot during Friday night’s game in Nashville.
The story of the evening was the penalties and consequent power-play goals. All of Colorado’s goals in regulation came in three separate power plays during the first period. Defenseman Ruslan Salei scored the first goal of the game while Ryan Smyth and John-Michael Liles would add a goal and an assist each on the following two goals. Detroit received six of the first seven penalties in the game.
The Wings had to stay out of the penalty box before they could finally get on the board. While the Avs were themselves trying to kill almost two straight penalties, Detroit nabbed two power-play goals. In fact, the Wings scored all three of their goals in a four-minute flurry of offensive action (3:58 to be precise).
Pavel Datsyuk scored first for Detroit when he put in his own rebound to earn his 14th point in seven games. Just 1:32 later, Tomas Holmstrom tipped in Mikael Samuelsson‘s shot from the point. Sammy had also assisted on Datsyuk’s goal. Johan Franzen sent the Wings to the locker room at intermission with a three-goal tie when he took a shot from a weird angle at the bottom of the right faceoff circle that beat goaltender Peter Budaj. Homer had quite the night with a goal and two assists and was consequently named first star of the game.
The Wings would be unable to score in the third period or overtime despite firing off 17 shots at Budaj, who faced 44 in total. In the shootout, he stopped Datsyuk (goalpost), Henrik Zetterberg, and Jiri Hudler. Budaj was definitely a difference-maker in the game as the Wings just peppered Colorado with shots and dominated play outside of the first period, but Colorado was able to still get the win. Detroit goaltender Ty Conklin stopped all but the first shot in the shootout making Wojtek Wolski’s goal, the game winner.
Detroit returns home after playing back-to-back road games before facing the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at the Joe.