Avs Drop Heartbreaker to Red Wings

After earning the Silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver
Olympics
, Paul Stastny had to pack his bags and rush back to Denver to
resume the NHL season. Stastny, and his fellow teammates, played the Detroit
Red Wings
for a chance to have sole possession of first place in the Northwest
Division.

Last night’s game must have seemed like déjà vu for Stastny,
as the Colorado Avalanche found themselves down 2-0 early in the second and then rallied to
tie the game at two. Only the third goal for the Red Wings came half-way
through the third, on a power-play goal from Nicklas Lidstrom.

The start of this game had the same, slow start that the
Canada – USA game had on Sunday. Both teams took a little while to get their
feet going and to try and get pressure down low. The Red Wings were able to take
advantage of a terrible defensive-zone turnover by the Avs that lead to the
opening goal.

After the goal, the Red Wings started to take control of the
game, and continued to keep the puck in the Avs zone for most of the first
period. The strong pressure from the Wings caused the Avs net minder to commit
a tripping penalty. The penalty by Craig Anderson led to the Red Wings second
goal of the game, scored by Johan Franzen.

By the end of the first, the Red Wings looked to be in full
control of the game, while the Avs were still looking for the legs from the
long break. Not only did the Red Wings have the 2-0 lead, but they were
outshooting the Avs 10-6.

“We came out slow,” said Stastny. “We know they were going
to come out hard. This is the first time they have had almost a full roster. I
know they were missing some of their key players and they had a lot of depth
there. We knew they were going to come out hard.”

The second period was a complete turnaround for the Avs, as
they opened up the ice with stronger skating and continuous pressure down low
in the Red Wings zone. With the use of their speed and pressure, the Avs were
able to keep the puck in the offensive zone, which resulted in their first
goal, scored by T.J. Galiardi.

After the goal, the Avs opened up the game even more and
started to take the edge away from the Red Wings.

It took only three minutes after the first goal for Ruslan
Salei to find Chris Stewart wide open to the right of goalie Jimmy Howard. Stewart
sent a strong shot to the net that managed to sneak under Howard.

With the scored tied at 2-2, the game again changed, and saw
back and forth action. During the final ten minutes of the period, both teams
had many scoring changes, which includes an incredible right-leg pad save from
Anderson.  

With all the excitement from the second period, the third period
looked to be just as enthralling.

This was not that case, as the Red Wings took control of the
period early, and rang two shots of the pipe only minutes apart. The Avs looked
a little lost in the third and found themselves running around in their zone
for a good portion of the period.

Midway through the third period, Kyle Quincey took a tripping
penalty that lead to the Red Wings third goal of the game. The goal was easy
for Lidstrom, as Anderson was out of the crease because he was following Pavel
Datsyuk, who feed the pass to Lidstrom.

“Datsyuk was going through the slot there,” stated Anderson.
“We got to respect the shot. He keeps coming across and across, and I push over
with him. I gotta to be ready for a shot. He makes a nifty little drop-pass
back to Lidstrom going the other way. It was a pretty easy goal for them.”

The Avs then tried to surge to get something going for them,
but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

With a 1:30 left in the period, the Avs had a faceoff in the
Red Wings zone, which lead Coach Joe Sacco to use his only timeout. Following
the timeout, Sacco pulled Anderson for the sixth attacker.

After a few attempts to get setup in the Red Wings zone, the
Avs had a couple chances. Their best chance was when Duchene had a wide open
net to the left of Howard, but was unable to control the bouncing puck. The
game ended and the Avs were unable to score the game tying goal to send it to
overtime.

It was a heartbreaker, as it seemed that the Avs were going
to score the goal, with the memorable Zach Praise goal happening just the night
before.

“We played a team tonight very desperate for points,” said
Sacco. “We have to give them credit, they played hard.”

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