Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace turned in one of his best performances of the season, stopping 34 of the 35 shots he faced and earning the win as the Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-1.
Legace faced 12 more shots than his counterpart in the Colorado nets, David Aebischer, but allowed one less goal and held the Avalanche scoreless while Detroit led by one late in the third period. He made a key save on Riku Hahl with three minutes remaining in the game and the Red Wings leading, 1-0. Thirty seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk scored the eventual game-winner.
The Red Wings were outshot, 12-5, in the first period but came away with the game’s first goal.
With Colorado’s Jim Cummins in the penalty box for high-sticking Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom got the puck below the right faceoff circle in the Avalanche zone. In a seemingly innocent play, Holmstrom skated to the faceoff circle and fired a quick shot over Aebischer’s far shoulder and into the net. At the 9:52 mark of the first period, the Red Wings were up a goal.
The score would not change until Datsyuk’s goal with 2:32 remaining in the game.
After Legace’s stop on Foote, the Red Wings sent the puck into the Colorado zone. Aebischer tried to cover the at the side of the goal but it bounced loose. While the Avs thought the puck was covered, it came free and Datsyuk put a shot into the vacated net to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.
Henrik Zetterberg added an empty-net goal one minute later.
Colorado’s only goal of the game came just in time to spoil Legace’s shutout.
With 31 seconds remaining in the game, Steve Konowalchuk beat Legace but it wasn’t enough as the final score was 3-1.
After three starts in which he allowed 13 total goals, Legace was back in form with Curtis Joseph reinjured. Joseph did not dress for the game and Marc Lamothe was called up to backup Legace.
The Red Wings and Avalanche play again Saturday afternoon, closing their home-and-home series in Detroit.
With the win, the Red Wings earned their fifth-straight 100-point season… The Red Wings remain tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the NHL standings with 101 points… Joseph will have an MRI exam on Friday to see the extent of the injury to his right ankle. Reportedly, Joseph stated that if the playoffs started now, he could play through the injury.