The Detroit Red Wings held off a comeback attempt by the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night, preserving a 4-3 lead throughout the third period to claim victory in Game One of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.
Detroit netminder Chris Osgood stopped John-Michael Liles with eight seconds remaining in the game to end Colorado’s comeback attempt. It was one of his 18 saves on the night.
All four Red Wings goals were scored on Jose Theodore, who left the game after the fourth. He was replaced by Peter Budaj in the Avalanche crease and by Tyler Weiman on the bench, leaving the arena due to illness.
Colorado got on the board first with Ryan Smyth getting away from Andreas Lilja behind the Detroit goal to feed Peter Stastny out front for a quick shot back in past Osgood at 8:53 of the first.
Just 53 seconds later, Henrik Zetterberg evened things up for the Red Wings. Zetterberg gained the Colorado zone and dropped the puck to Brian Rafalski, who put it back down to Pavel Datsyuk along the left wing boards. Datsyuk sent it down low to Zetterberg as he cut to the net and put it past Theodore.
Dan Cleary put Detroit out in front with 6:12 left in the period, powering a shot in on Theodore that the goaltender deflected high into the air before dropping in behind him and bouncing into the net.
With 2:37 left in the period, Johan Franzen tipped a Niklas Kronwall shot past Theodore for a power play goal, giving the Red Wings a 3-1 lead after the first period.
Franzen scored again 1:13 into the second.
Mikael Samuelsson jumped in to grab a loose puck from Andrew Brunette along the left wing boards. Samuelsson worked it out to Valtteri Filppula who moved it on to Franzen for a one-timer from the top of the right circle.
Liles scored 4:04 later to cut Detroit’s lead back down, blasting a shot from the left wing off of Osgood’s pad and into the net.
With 3:31 left in the second, Milan Hejduk scored the game’s final goal to pull the Avs to within one. One a three-on-two, Smyth moved the puck to Stastny who got it along to Hejduk to lift over Osgood’s pad.
Budaj finished the night with 20 saves on as many shots. Theodore stopped 12 of 16 shots.
The Red Wings scored the lone power play goal of the game on one of their five chances with the extra attacker. Colorado was scoreless on three tries.
Game Two of the series will be on Saturday afternoon from Joe Louis Arena.
Colorado’sPeter Forsberg missed the game with a groin injury… Wojtek Wolski left the game after the first period with an undisclosed injury… To circumvent the NHL’s new rule banning twirling an octopus while carrying it off the ice, Detroit zamboni driver Al Sobotka twirled one in the zamboni entrance at the start of the game.