The Detroit Red Wings came from behind to pick up a 6-3 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche Sunday night, finishing the team’s first-ever season sweep of their bitter rival.
Since the Quebec franchise relocated to Denver for the 1995-96 season, neither Detroit nor Colorado had ever won all of the games against the other in a season. The Red Wings had previously been swept by the Nordiques in 1981-82 and 1987-88 before returning the favor in 1989-90.
Colorado took an early 2-0 lead in the game on goals by Patrice Brisebois and Milan Hejduk.
Brisebois scored at 5:36 of the first period, driving a one-timer from the top of the right circle through a screen, off of Detroit goalie Manny Legace’s arm, and into the net.
Hejduk’s goal came 4:28 later, when Joe Sakic stole the puck from Andreas Lilja behind the Detroit net and sent a pass out to the slot. Hejduk was there to one-time a shot back betwen Legace’s pads.
The Wings pulled to within one with 6:07 remaining in the period, when Mathieu Schneider sent a blast from the blue line off of Brisebois and past Colorado netminder David Aebischer.
Pavel Datsyuk tied the game at 6:51 of the second period. After a bad line change by Colorado, Tomas Holmstrom drove to the net with the puck before leaving a drop pass for Datsyuk in the right circle. Datsyuk sent a quick wrist shot over Aebischer’s blocker, evening the score.
The Avalanche quickly regained the lead, with Dan Hinote scoring on a wraparound just 2:49 later.
Even more quickly, the Red Wings retied the game. A mere 1:03 after Hinote’s goal, Brett Lebda fed Jason Williams for a one-timer from the slot that blew past Aebischer.
The Red Wings took the lead with a power play goal at 4:43 of the third. Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot from the high slot that was blocked with Tomas Holmstrom and Rob Blake in front of the goal. Blake went down on top of Aebischer and Holmstrom scrambled to flip a weak shot over the pile of players and into the goal.
Henrik Zetterberg put Detroit up by two at 8:06 of the period, putting in the rebound of a shot by Lebda.
Brendan Shanahan scored the game’s final goal, flipping a shot from the Red Wings’ zone down the ice and into the empty Colorado net with 1:21 remaining.
Detroit went one-for-four on the power play and did not allow a goal on Colorado’s three chances with the extra attacker.
Legace made twenty saves on 23 shots, while Aebischer finished the game with 33 saves on 38 shots.
The NHL begins it’s Olympic Break on Monday, with games set to resume on February 28. That night, the Red Wings will visit the San Jose Sharks.
Including the playoffs, the Red Wings are now 59-52-5 all-time against the Quebec / Colorado franchise.