The Detroit Red Wings held off a third-period comeback by the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, picking up a 3-2 win just a day after dropping an embarrassing 7-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Damien Brunner’s second-period goal – his first in 16 games – turned out to be the game winner. Brunner scored at 9:54 of the period when Gustav Nyquist gathered up a loose puck and spun in the high slot to evade a defender, then fed Brunner in the right faceoff circle for a one-timer past Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov.
The goal would give the Red Wings a 3-0 lead and chase Varlamov from the crease in favor of Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
The Avs cut the lead to 3-1 at 5:52 of the third period on a power play. After a goal-mouth scramble that left Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard sprawled out on the ice, Jamie McGinn gathered up the loose puck and skated it into the slot for a shot into the open top of the net.
With just 1:18 remaining, Matt Duchene cut Detroit’s lead to one when he gloved down a clearing attempt by Brendan Smith and cut across the top of the crease to backhand a shot past Howard to make it 3-2.
Howard preserved the lead with seven seconds remaining, making a glove save on P.A. Parenteau.
Justin Abdelkader had opened the game’s scoring with 4:03 left in the first period, bunting the rebound of a Johan Franzen chance out of mid-air and past Varlamov.
Daniel Cleary made it 2-0 on a Red Wings’ power play at 6:28 of the second. Franzen fed Cleary at the top of the crease with a pass from down low to swat past Varlamov.
With Cleary’s goal, the Red Wings went one-for-two on the power play on the night. Colorado was one-for-three with the man-advantage.
Howard finished the night with 22 saves on 24 shots in earning the win. Varlamov stopped ten of 13 shots in 29:54 of play to take the loss with Gigure stopping all seven shots he faced for the remainder of the game.
After back-to-back home games, the Red Wings will next be in action with consecutive road games. They’ll visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night and have a rematch with the Avalanche on Friday.
Detroit was without captain Henrik Zetterberg (groin) and forward Mikael Samuelsson (upper-body)… Defenseman Danny DeKeyser was a healthy scratch for the Wings… Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo returned from injury to make his first appearance at Joe Louis Arena this season in his first game since January 21 in Columbus.