Late Night Game Three Notes

The Avalanche played their strongest game of the series tonight but the key was that the Red Wings didn’t change their game. Detroit was already doing everything right so they didn’t need to shake things up, but the Avs did need to try something new.

Jose Theodore wasn’t good enough but still looked much better than he did in the previous two games. That’s probably enough to ensure that he gets the start in Thursday’s Game Four.

Johan Franzen continues to roll, adding another goal (though this one wasn’t a game-winner).

I think Chris Osgood might want that third Colorado goal back. Had he been able to keep track of the rebound, that doesn’t end up in the net.

That’s all I’ve got right now. I’ll probably post a recap in the morning.

Red Wings Win on the Road, Take 3-0 Series Lead

The Detroit Red Wings proved that they learned from their first-round mistakes Tuesday night, winning Game Three of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup with the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

In their first-round series with Nashville, the Red Wings failed twice on the road in Game Three and Game Four, allowing the Predators back into the series.

Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and Henrik Zetterberg added another, while Johan Franzen continued his hot streak with his 23rd goal in the past 25 games.

Cody McLeod opened the game’s scoring for the Avalanche, tipping a shot from the right wing by T.J. Hensick past Chris Osgood during a delayed penalty at 5:17 of the first.

Datsyuk scored on a Detroit power play with 7:46 left in the period to tie the game. Zetterberg drove to the net and was tied up in front, working the puck on to Datsyuk to rip into the top of the net.

Just 58 seconds later, Franzen put the Red Wings out in front. Brett Lebda picked up the loose puck in the right circle and threw it back across the ice to Franzen in the slot to rifle in past Colorado goalie Jose Theodore.

Datsyuk’s second of the night put Detroit up by a pair 6:36 into the second period. Brian Rafalski‘s shot from the point was knocked down at the top of the crease by Theodore but Datsyuk was there to scoop up the rebound and put it into the net.

Andrew Brunette pulled the Avalance back to within a goal with the first of his two power play goals, tipping a John-Michael Liles shot from the blue line past Osgood at 8:08 of the second.

Zetterberg extended the Detroit lead again with 7:36 left in the period, scoring another power play goal. Zetterberg sent the puck from behind the net to Datsyuk on the right wing, then moved out to the far side of the crease to get the puck back for a tap-in.

Brunette scored his second at 5:19 of the third period, banging in the rebound of a Joe Sakic chance after Osgood lost it in his skates but the Avs would be unable to pull even.

All three Colorado goals came with an extra attacker on the ice, either during a power play or a delayed penalty. The Avalanche finished the night two-for-five on the power play while the Red Wings went two-for-seven.

Osgood stopped 30 of 33 shots against in his first playoff win in Denver since 1996. Theodore made 31 saves on 35 shots.


The Avalanche saw Peter Forsberg and Scott Hannan return to the lineup but lost Ryan Smyth before the start of the game and Peter Stastny in the first period.

Forsberg’s Status Still Unknown for Game Three

Peter Forsberg‘s status for Tuesday’s Game Three is still up in the air. He missed the first two games of the series with a groin injury.

“It’s very hard to sit on the side, especially when you lose. I worked hard at home for eight months, and I didn’t come here to sit in the dressing room or not play in the playoffs. Hopefully, I can play tomorrow,” Forsberg said after an hour-long practice on Monday.

Meanwhile, Jose Theodore will get the start in the Colorado crease dispite having been pulled in the second period of both of the first two games.

Defenseman Scott Hannan‘s status is unknown after missing the second game of the series with a foot injury.

The Red Wings are not expected to make any lineup changes.

In the Detroit area the game will be available on FSN Detroit. Versus will cover it nationally.

Franzen Scores Three as Red Wings Win Game Two

Johan Franzen scored his first playoff hat trick on Saturday, continuing his hot streak that started in March and leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.

Franzen scored the game’s first goals – both on the power play – to get the Red Wings rolling.

At 4:22 of the first period, Franzen tipped a hard shot by Mikael Samuelsson past Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore.

Just 4:04 into the second period, he added another one, coming out from behind the net with the puck to roof a backhander over Theodore.

Valtteri Filppula made it a three-goal lead only 1:38 later slipping a backhander past Theodore after a Dallas Drake shot bounced off the back boards.

With 9:49 left in the period, Henrik Zetterberg rifled a shot into the net while on a two-on-one with Tomas Holmstrom, leading to Theodore’s early exit for the second game in a row.

Cody McCormick tried to give the Avalanche life, challenging Darren McCarty to a fight and earning the takedown, but Colorado couldn’t bounce back and couldn’t stay calm, taking five undisciplined penalties throughout the second half of the period.

Ian Laperriere got the Avalanche on the board at 2:38 of the third but it would be their only goal.

Franzen completed his hat trick at 8:47 of the closing frame, scoring on a two-on-one with Zetterberg while the Red Wings were shorthanded.

Zetterberg carried the puck into the Colorado zone down the left wing. He faked around Joe Sakic and put a shot into goalie Peter Budaj. Franzen followed up with a rebound chance and the puck popped into the air, where he smacked it past Budaj for the game’s final goal.

Theodore stopped 16 of 20 shots before being replaced by Budaj, who made 19 stops on the same number of chances. Detroit netminder Chris Osgood also stopped 19 of 20 shots.

Game Three of the series will be Tuesday in Denver.


The last Red Wing to score a playoff hat trick was Darren McCarty, who scored three times in Game One of Detroit’s 2002 series with Colorado… Before the game, Colorado’s Cody McLeod scooped up an octopus from the ice – in direct violation of the new NHL rule – and taunted the Red Wings bench with it.

Octopi-Twirling Ban an Insult to Fans

Just before the start of Thursday night’s Game One between Detroit and Colorado, the NHL’s on-ice officials were called on to take an octopus off the ice.

For the past 17 years, Red Wings zamboni driver Al Sobotka would have done that, twirling the eight-legged creature over his head and working the crowd into a frenzy. That was not to be on Thursday, though, the result of the NHL’s new edict banning Sobotka from clearing the cephalopod from the ice surface.

The league claims that Sobotka’s twirling spreads hazardous debris across the ice surface, endangering the players skating upon it.

Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong. As the Detroit Free Press’ anonymous blogger points out, there is no hazardous material released by twirling an octopus. In fact, no “matter” is released at all.

So with the NHL’s reasoning debunked, why is Sobotka – for whom Detroit’s octopus playoff mascot is named – banned from keeping up this tradition?

No reason.

And that’s what has me so incredibly angry about this. The tradition of throwing octopi lives but the tradition of twirling them dies for nothing.

This is not something done to create an advantage for the Red Wings or a hazard on the ice. It’s something for the fans. Specifically, it’s something for Red Wing fans.

Unless the NHL takes the train whistles away from fans in Nashville and the girls in tight-fitting jerseys off the ice in Chicago, this is a move aimed at one market’s fans and them alone.

In a league that struggles to attract new customers, they are pointing at one of their strongest fan bases and saying, “No, you will not have fun here. We’re taking your toys away.”

That is why I’m upset about this. The NHL is directly going against it’s own fans. It’s the kind of idiocy you can only expect from this league.

Wings fans need to speak out.

The crowd at the Joe needs to boo every time an official gets near an octopus. Boo so loud the NHL-paid Versus and NBC announcers will have to explain it on air.

Hold up signs that get on TV.

Send octopi to the NHL offices in New York. Real or stuffed, it doesn’t matter.

Let the league know that they’ve taken something we love away from us. Come out in such numbers that they have to respond. Make them look like fools spouting debunked reasoning or give us our tradition back.

Red Wings Hold off Colorado Comeback for Game One Victory

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.

Red Wings to Face Avalance in Second Round

With San Jose’s defeat of Calgary in Game Seven of their first round series, the Red Wings’ second round opponent will be the Colorado Avalanche. The series schedule has been added to DH.N’s schedule page.

Detroit and Colorado have faced each other five times in the playoffs, with the Avs owning a 3-2 lead, having won both matchups that did not occur in the Western Conference Finals.

The last time the two teams met in the postseason was 2002, when the Red Wings rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the series to win in seven games, with Dominik Hasek blanking Colorado in Game Six and Game Seven.

The Red Wings ran the table against the Avalanche this season, winning all four games. All of those games were played before Colorado reacquired Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote.