Just as on Thursday night, Manny Legace gave the Colorado Avalanche’s shooters fits of frustration. This time, Legace finally got his shutout, as strong play on both offense and defense lifted Detroit to a 2-0 win over Colorado.
Colorado got the game off to a quick start, peppering Legace with shots in the early stages, but the Red Wings patiently took control of the play and did their own testing of goalie Tommy Salo.
The Avalanche had their big chance of the game midway through the second, when Derian Hatcher received double penalties for roughing and high-sticking. Detroit’s penalty kill did such a good job of breaking up passes and blocking shots that Legace only had to make three saves during the whole four minute power play. The best of the three was a pad save on a fluttering backhand shot by Rob Blake.
Between the excellent goaltending and defensive play on both sides, no one was able to light up the scoreboard until Mathieu Schneider scored a power play goal with just ten seconds left in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk won a draw against Joe Sakic deep in Colorado’s zone. The puck fell back to Schneider, who knocked it left to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Lidstrom passed to Brett Hull, then got it back and sent it across to Schneider at the right point. Schneider took a high shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and angled down into the net.
Datsyuk cemented Detroit’s lead 4:06 into the third period, during four-on-four play with coincidental penalties to Brendan Shanahan and Adam Foote. Chris Chelios passed to Datsyuk as the young Russian crossed Colorado’s blue line. Datsyuk centered the puck for Hull, but Hull’s shot was blocked by Bob Boughner. Datsyuk was able to get to the loose puck, skate around Boughner and Salo, then put the puck high over Salo’s blocker.
Colorado pulled Salo from net with 1:36 left to play, but the six skaters were simply unable to put the puck past Legace, who had to make one last good kick save in the final second to preserve his shutout.
Shots were even, with 27 per team. The Red Wings’ next opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, Monday night at the Joe.
The Red Wings have a 26-5-6-1 record in games in which Datsyuk has at least a point”¦. Curtis Joseph had an MRI on his injured ankle, which revealed that a piece of cartilage has pulled away from the bone. He is receiving cortisone injections, in the hope that the swelling will go down enough to allow him to play before the regular season ends on April 4″¦. The team also hopes to bring Kris Draper, Mathieu Dandenault, and Robert Lang back into the lineup before the playoffs begin.