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Game Recap: Avalanche 3 - Red Wings 2 (SO)

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings welcomed old rivals into the Joe looking to extend their winning streak to four games and bury the Avalanche in the process for old time's sake. They failed at the former and were only able to do the latter in the fancy stats department.

First Period:

The Wings looked good right out of the gate, maintaining time in the Avs zone for well over a minute. But even though they led in shots 6-1 only seven minutes in, they weren't able to get the puck past the Colorado goaltender.

It felt like one of those games where the Wings dominate possession only to have be scored on first, and that's exactly what happened just before the halfway mark of the period. Matt Duchene came off the bench undetected and popped a rebound shot past Petr Mrazek. Pavel Datsyuk had a prime scoring chance to tie the game quickly, but he sent the puck across to Henrik Zetterberg, who couldn't handle the puck for a shot. Then Darren Helm had a shot from right on the doorstop and just missed, so clearly he should have been falling down when he took it and he'd have scored.

Helm ended up planted on the ice only a few seconds later when Blake Comeau tripped him, so the Wings went to the power play. The best chance the Wings had was a shot Tomas Tatar missed from in close. The Wings were able to keep pressure after the man advantage ended, but ended with no damage done. Datsyuk had a beautiful chance with only seconds left, but couldn't elevate the puck over Semyon Varlamov's pad.

Score: 1-0 Avalanche
Shots: 13-4 Red Wings

Standout Players: Datsyuk, Helm, Luke Glendening
Tough Period: Kyle Quincey, Andreas Athanasiou

Second Period:

The second period opened with the Wings absolutely peppering the Avalanche net, with chances coming from every direction, but it wasn't until Jonathan Ericsson sent in a shot from near the blue line that fluttered through the five-hole of Varlamov to tie it. Detroit held pressure while the Avalanche got some stupid puck luck along with good saves from their goalie. Seriously, the Wings should have been burying Colorado in goals by this point, not just shots.

Detroit went to the penalty kill after a Riley Sheahan hook, allowing Colorado the most chances they'd been able to get all night. They even got some actual shots on their power play, so they were only tripled up in shots instead of quadrupled. Good job, Avs. Ken Daniels mentioned with about three minutes left that the Wings had directed 50 shots attempts at the Colorado net already, with the Avs only putting up 17. That's amazing and hilarious.

The Wings failed to score on their power play as the period wound down, and we were left with needing to win one period in a game that should have already been out of Colorado's reach.

Score: 1-1 tie
Shots: 27-11 Red Wings

Standout Players: Datsyuk
Tough Period: Sheahan

Third Period:

Stop me if you've heard this before: the Wings came out looking like the dominant team and couldn't get the puck in the net. That's basically what the storyline was again, and somehow the Avs took the lead with the puck trickling over the line past a leaky Mrazek after the Wings failed to clear the zone. 2-1 Colorado.

I was worried that the second Avs goal would spell the unraveling of the Red Wings, as they had absolutely dominated the game since the opening puck drop, but the team kept pushing, and a power play at the halfway point of the period saw Datsyuk finally put the puck behind Varlamov to tie the game. Detroit was immediately back to the power play with a trip on Athanasiou, but the man advantage couldn't capitalize on its own momentum, and ended early thanks to an offensive zone penalty by Larkin.

There were a couple scary chances late for Colorado until Sheahan drew a late power play. As JJ put it, Tomas Tatar is officially on the "deserves a goal" watch, as he nearly put the Wings in the lead with only minutes left, but shanked it wide.

Score: 2-2 tie
Shots: 40-19 Red Wings

Standout Players: Datsyuk
Tough Period: Tatar, Mrazek

Overtime/Shootout:

Dylan Larkin started the OT period with Datsyuk but along with Danny DeKeyser, the trio spent most of their shift chasing the puck. Then Tatar came on for Datsyuk and nearly put in a Larkin rebound. The Avs somehow iced the puck twice, causing Patrick Roy to use a timeout. Gustav Nyquist nearly ended it with his usual shootout move on a feed from Tatar, but Varlamov stopped him, though he looked injured getting up from the save. Tatar took a holding penalty at the other end to put the Wings at a 3-on-4 penalty kill. The Avs rang a shot off the post and then the Wings made a couple of key blocks as the OT period ended.

Larkin's shot was saved off Varlamov's glove.

Gabriel Landeskog was stoned by Mrazek's left pad.

Datsyuk scored on a little fake to his forehand!

Matt Duchene and his slow multi-fake move was stopped by Mrazek.

Brad Richards failed to score on his attempt.

Nathan MacKinnon scored coming in with speed. To extras we go.

Nyquist shot instead of going to his usual move and was stopped.

Comeau won it for the Avs on his shot.

Final Score: 3-2 Avalanche
Shots: 45-21 Red Wings

Standout Players: DeKeyser
Tough Period: Tatar

Final Thoughts:

  • The Avs lead the league in blocked shots, and this was annoyingly evident early on in this game. Tough for the Wings to get second chances when their first chances don't even get on goal.
  • Darren Helm had as many shots as Colorado in the first period. With how much Helm has trouble putting the puck on net ever, that should tell you how bad the Avalanche are.
  • I started this bullet point in the first period: Datsyuk needed to score tonight. I'm so glad I can say that he did. Twice!
  • Shot attempts were 74-28 Detroit with about five minutes remaining in the game, as the broadcast pointed out. The game ended at 87-35.
  • Your Player of the Game is Pavel Datsyuk. A big power play goal to tie it and gave the team a chance to win in the shootout.