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NAHHVALANCHE: Wings out-gut Avs in OT win

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

What can you expect coming into a game against one of the NHL’s toughest teams? Well, in this case, you can expect the Colorado Avalanche to pounce all over the Detroit Red Wings.

That’s largely what happened in this game… Detroit’s offense took time to click, but it came up big when it was needed. It wasn’t a game with a ton of scoring, but a ton of guts from both teams. Good goaltending, quality special teams, and a great showcase of skill. Thankfully in our case, the Wings had more guts than the Avs.

1st Period

Colorado was all over Detroit in the first 10 minutes of play. Detroit would create a scoring chance or two, including a between-the-legs shot from Daniel Sprong right on Colorado’s doorstep. As the period went on, it was clear that both teams were playing loosey goosey, and it could swing anyone’s way in the blink of an eye.

Alex Lyon was practically standing on his head most of this period. Not much to write about that, just wanted to make note of it. Not much help coming from his defense.

The biggest chance for Detroit was a two-on-one play between Olli Maatta and Alex DeBrincat. Maatta made a good play to hit DeBrincat on the tape, but unfortunately the Cat went PINGO:

About three minutes to go, Moritz Seider goes off for tripping. Detroit’s PK actually did a good job and got through a minute before the Avs took a penalty. Not much PP time for Detroit to close it out.

0-0 after 20.

2nd Period

This period was much like the first. Wings were chasing the Avs and finding pockets of offense that couldn’t sustain. In their defense, Detroit did find its legs but no one wanted to hit the net apparently.

Just before the five minute mark, Detroit got caught at the butt-end of a shift and were quickly hemmed in. Nathan MacKinnon hit the ice with fresh legs and basically willed himself to a goal:

This was a really bad period for Jeff Petry. He had a near-catastrophic miscue with Alex Lyon early on that could have easily given Colorado an empty net. Put him on the ice with a beast like MacKinnon and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. All that being said, separately, Alex Lyon had another strong period in net.

Detroit was given another look on the power play at the 7:25 mark, and it certainly was a look.

The Wings managed to get several big chances but the puck just wasn’t interested in hitting the net. Too much pass-y, not enough shoot-y.. You know the drill. Detroit would close out the period with only a one-goal hill to climb in the final 20 minutes.

1-0 after 40.

3rd Period/OT

Here come the Detroit Red Wings.

Well, not yet. ‘Bout 30 seconds into the third period, Michael Rasmussen went off for a penalty he was not happy about. Detroit’s PK deserves a lot of praise in this game. Both units came up big when the team needed it most. The Wings took two penalties in the third period. No offense to show from Colorado.

These Red Wings have shown plenty of resiliency this season. It was no different in this game. On their third power-play try of the night, it finally registered into a huge game-tying goal. Who else to score in a moment like this other than Dylan Larkin:

In the late minutes of this game, I gotta hand it to Ben Chiarot. He had a huge PK shift and made a couple of quiet plays to help his team earn a point (and beyond). Detroit got another PP chance late. There should have easily been a goal, but you gotta hand it to Justus Annunen. He had a brilliant performance and made a handful of big saves.

Onward to OT.. Detroit started with the man advantage but didn’t make anything of it. Colorado got their chances but Alex Lyon was in brick-wall mode after MacKinnon’s goal. Here’s where it got fun.

The Wings cycled into a great breakout from Dylan Larkin and Patrick Kane. Again, hand it to Ben Chiarot, his fingerprints were all over this. Larkin drove deep into the zone and caught Patrick Kane on a no-look pass. Kane would rip home the SHOWTIME game-winner:

FINAL: 2-1, Detroit!!!!

There you have it. The Detroit Red Wings just gutted out another huge win in the dog days of the NHL season. Not just that, but against a quality opponent. Sure, there wasn’t a ton to like from Detroit’s offense, and Alex Lyon absolutely won this game for them, but this was another instance of the Wings rising to the occasion and playing for one another. I cannot stress how big of a win this is. Playoff atmosphere, baby!

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