Avalanche End Red Wings Winning Streak at Seven

The Colorado Avalanche capitalized on turnovers to earn a 4-2 win over the Red Wings Sunday night, ending Detroit’s winning streak at seven games.

Colorado’s first and third goals came on plays that saw the Red Wings cough the puck up.

Detroit opened the scoring with 4:52 left in the first period. On a power play, Pavel Datsyuk drove to the net through the right faceoff circle and the puck bounced out to Johan Franzen in the left circle, wide open to knock the puck into the empty side of the net past netminder Semyon Varlamov.

Just 26 seconds into the middle frame, the Avs got on the board. Gabriel Landeskog pressured defenseman Ian White behind the Detroit goal and stole the puck, sending it out front to Ryan O’Reilly for a shot past goalie Ty Conklin.

The Avalanche added a power play goal at 2:11 of the period, with Paul Stastny putting a shot from the right circle into an empty net as Conklin got spun around in a goalmouth scramble and stuck out of position.

Danny Cleary evened things up for Detroit at 5:08 of the third period, deflecting a Henrik Zetterberg shot past Varlamov to make it 2-2.

Another turnover would bite the Wings, however. At 9:22 of the period and with Detroit on a power play Darren Helm and Drew Miller miscommunicated at center ice and T.J. Galiardi poked the puck to Landeskog on the left wing. Landeskog and Galiardi broke in two-on-one and defenseman Niklas Kronwall didn’t block the pass back across to Galiardi in the slot, where he rifled a shot past Conklin.

O’Reilly would add an empty net goal in the game’s final minute to round out the scoring.

Conklin finished the night with 31 saves on 34 shots against. Varlamov stopped 27 of Detroit’s 29 shots.

Both teams had a power play goal. The Red Wings had five tries with the extra attacker and Colorado had three.

The Wings will close out their three-game road trip in St. Louis on Wednesday.

Detroit forward Valtteri Filppula left the game in the first period with a cut on his leg and did not return. His status for Wednesday was not immediately known… Cory Emmerton and Mike Commodore were the healthy scratches for Detroit… Conklin made his first start in eighteen games.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Avalanche – 12/4

The Red Wings played approximately one period tonight and got the result you’d expect from that, a 4-2 loss to Colorado, ending their winning streak at seven games.

The first period was a solid effort by Detroit. Kept the Avs bottled up / limited their chances and controlled the puck. Johan Franzen‘s power play goal meant they even had a lead for that effort.

Then, as happens all too often with this team, they let up. Give Colorado credit, they didn’t quit (nor should they have down by only one with two periods to play).

A sloppy turnover led to the Avs’ first goal. A dumb penalty put Colorado on a power play, on which they took the lead when Ty Conklin completely lost track of the puck.

The Red Wings seemed to get back into it in the third, tying things up. Then another bad giveaway gave the Avs a shorthanded two-on-one that Niklas Kronwall completely misplayed, leading to the go-ahead goal.

With Conklin pulled in the final minute, the Wings couldn’t even control the puck, making the ENG inevitable.

I’m not afraid to throw Conklin under the bus at times. That second goal was awful, for example, ’cause it’s not the first time this season he’s allowed one when he didn’t know where the puck was. That said, I saw a lot of people on Twitter bashing him for the third goal and that’s just ridiculous.

Ignoring anything that led to the neutral zone turnover and the two-on-one, let’s just focus on the scoring play.

The goalie’s job in an odd-man rush is to take the shooter. Conklin did that, squaring to the oncoming Gabriel Landeskog.

The defenseman’s job is to make sure that the puck carrier can’t pass it off. This is because the goalie is focusing on the puck carrier so you have to turn that into a one-on-one battle.

Alternately, the defenseman can attempt to completely take away a shot from the puck-carrier, allowing the goalie to cheat towards the other player on the rush. It’s not as good of an option unless the defenseman is making a play for the puck, but at least both the defenseman and the goalie know who their man is.

In the case of Colorado’s third goal, Kronwall failed to either take away the pass or deny the shot. This means the Conklin has to square to Landeskog (Kronwall isn’t denying the shot so Landeskog is Conklin’s man), but Landeskog is able to pass the puck off to TJ Galiardi for a shot that Conklin wasn’t prepared to face.

That was a play that was just lazy to me, hence me picking on it. Kronwall was only about five feet out of position but it made all the difference in the world.

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