The Colorado Avalanche hosted the rival Detroit Red Wings in the final game of their current five-game home stand. The Avs, looking for redemption in losing their previous two games, as the Red Wings were looking for their second straight win on the road.
The Avs, knowing that the Red Wings are a puck controlling team, came out with plenty of speed, and sent everything at back-up goalie Chris Osgood.
With the fast-paced action, it didn’t take Avs forward Matt Duchene very long to get the first goal of the game. Duchene scored three and half minutes into the game, recording his 14th goal of the season.
However, the Red Wings responded in a timely manner and tied the game up at one. Jiri Hudler scored a power-play goal, from a shot that Avs goalie Peter Budaj didn’t see coming.
About a minute later, Avs forward T.J. Galiardi sent a shot from atop the face-off circle and snuck the puck under the arm of Osgood, giving the Avs the lead again.
As the period continued on, the pace started to settle down a little bit, but the Avs still maintained the puck in the Red Wings zone, and kept the energy at a high level. That was until John-Michael Liles was called for cross-checking at 12:25.
Again, it didn’t take the Red Wings long to score, as Johan Franzen scored seven seconds into the power-play to tie the game back up at two.
The Avs didn’t let the quick power-play goal get them down, as they sent shot after shot towards Osgood. By the end of the period, the Avs were still fighting hard for the puck and had outshot the Red Wings 16-9.
With the Avs having a lot of momentum going into the first intermission, the same energy transferred well into the start of the second. As the Avs came out strong just as they did in the first period, and used their speed to their advantage.
The Avs were dictating the play and forced the Red Wings to commit three penalties due to the aggressive play. With the strong play, the Avs were sending everything at Osgood, who was standing on his head in the second period. The Avs also switched things around as they only committed one penalty during the second, compared to three in the first.
With 1:54 reaming in the second, Avs defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk took a puck to the face and was escorted off the ice with help from a trainer, but managed to stand up on his own. Shattenkirk would return mid-way through the third period.
Although the second period saw a lot of action, mostly at Osgood, the period turned into more of a goaltender match, as Budaj was also standing tall in net. Along with the strong play of both goaltenders, the Avs were outshooting the Red Wings 39-18 by the end of the second.
Yet again, the Avs carried the impetus into the third, and had another power-play chance early in the period, but were still unable to get one past Osgood.
Towards the middle of the period, the Red Wings started to tilt the ice a little bit and started to dictate the play. This took the edge away from the Avs and saw them start to chase the puck around in their own zone.
As the Red Wings continued to control the play, Ryan O’Byrne committed a holding penalty with seven minutes left to go. This would turn out to be a key moment in the game, as Niklas Lidstrom would score a power-play goal, giving the Red Wings the 3-2 lead.
However, the Red Wings decided to make things interesting and give the Avs a power-play with 2:36 remaining. Something that would turn out to be costly, as Duchene would be waiting to the left of Osgood, and sent a rebound into an open net, tying the game again.
“I’m sure he is one of the three stars for sure,” said Duchene. “I think he stole the fourth one for sure.”
With both teams playing it safe, the game headed to overtime. Both teams had a couple of chances, but again the goaltenders were on top of their game during the four-on-four play.
Just when it looked liked the game was going to go to a shootout, Budaj tripped a Red Wing player that resulted in the game-winning goal. Niklas Kronwall scored to give the Red Wings the 4-3 overtime victory.
“I think they played great,” said Budaj. “I think it was a good game for the fans. I think we all played well and don’t want to take anything away from Detroit, but I think we played better. Ozzy played great tonight.”
Despite the loss, the Avs out-play the Red Wings when the game was five-on-five. In addition, the Avs outshot the Red Wings 49-30, something that the Red Wings tend not to let happen.
“There’s no question,” stated Avs Coach Joe Sacco. “I think it was our best game of the year. From start to finish, I don’t think we played a more complete game, especially against the best team in the Western Conference.”
What ended up being the Achilles heel for the Avs was the penalty-kill, which ended up being the difference in the game.
“At the end of the day our penalty-killing obviously was difference; the special teams was the difference in the game. Special teams is a big part of the game, big part of the game.”
With the overtime loss, the Avs still added a point to their total, and ended their five-game home stand 2-2-1, tallying five points.