The Detroit Red Wings had a lot of reasons to be down heading into Wednesday night’s matchup with the archrival Colorado Avalanche.
On the ice, they were on a season-high four-game winless streak. Of the ice, concerns about defenseman Jiri Fischer’s health were still at the front of everyone’s mind. And just 1:30 into the matchup they had another thing to come back from, as the Avs already had a 1-0 lead.
Detroit was able to get past all of that and pick up a 7-3 win over Colorado, a win that comes at the time when it is most needed.
After Andrew Brunette opened the game’s scoring with a power play goal, Detroit took over.
Mikael Samuelsson scored the first of his four points just 48 seconds later, at 2:18. Jason Williams skated around the Colorado net for a wraparound attempt and picked up his own rebound as he skated along the goal line to Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj’s left. He sent a crossing pass through the crease and Samuelsson was on the far post to knock the puck in.
Robert Lang scored on a two-on-one with Samuelsson at 5:32 of the second to give the Wings their first lead of the game.
Ian Laperriere tied it 2:22 past the game’s midway point. Alex Tanguay controlled the puck behind the net and sent it out to Laperriere, who blasted home a shot from the slot.
Detroit regained the lead on Dan Cleary’s first goal as a Red Wing just 2:19 later. Samuelsson ripped a shot on net from the right circle and it was kicked aside. The long rebound came to Cleary in the left circle, who rifled it through the scrambling Budaj.
A power play goal by Brendan Shanahan put Detroit up by two with 1:30 remaining in the period. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the blue line that Shanahan tipped in front of the net, setting the score at 4-2 after two periods of play.
The Avalanche pulled to within one when John-Michael Liles scored at 7:14 of the third. Joe Sakic sent a pass from the right circle to Liles on the edge of Detroit goalie Manny Legace’s crease. Liles put the puck on net and Legace got a piece of it but not enough.
With 4:16 left, another two-on-one put the Red Wings back up by two. Pavel Datsyuk made a quick move at the Detroit blue line to break past a defender and he and Jason Williams faced Budaj and a lone defenseman. Datsyuk got the puck to Williams, who redirected it into the net from the top of the crease.
Samuelsson added his second goal and fourth point of the night with a wicked wrist shot from the slot just 55 seconds later and Johan Franzen added a shorthanded empty-net goal with 54 seconds remaining.
Legace ended the night with 24 saves on 27 shots, while Budaj stopped 22 of the 28 shots he faced.
The Detroit power play went one-for-three on the night. Colorado, whose power play had been slumping of late, scored on two of their seven opportunities.
The Red Wings will be back in action for an afternoon game from Anaheim on Friday.
Jamie Rivers took Fischer’s spot in the Red Wings lineup and Kyle Quincey was called up from Grand Rapids to serve as an extra defenseman… Fischer was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and has been placed on the 24-day disabled list. Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill expects the situation to be sorted out in a month to six weeks.