Franzen’s Hat Trick Leads Red Wings Past Avalanche

Johan Franzen scored three goals Tuesday night, helping the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The win was Detroit’s second in a row after a six-game losing streak.

Nicklas Lidstrom got the Wings on the board at 8:54 of the first period. Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson cleared the puck off the end boards right out into the slot, where Lidstrom was all alone for a one-timer past goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Franzen’s first of the night, originally credited to Valtteri Filppula, gave Detroit a two-goal lead just 2:36 into the second. Filppula carried the puck into the Colorado zone on a power play and held up along the right wing boards, giving Henrik Zetterberg time to get to the bottom of the right circle. Filppula sent the puck to Zetterberg, who moved it on to Jiri Hudler at the top of the left faceoff circle for a pass back to Filppula, who fired a shot past Varlamov that was tipped by Franzen in the slot on the way through.

Another deflection 4:17 later would give Franzen two goals on the night, when he tipped Niklas Kronwall‘s slap-pass from the left point past Varlamov from the slot.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere replaced Varlamov in the Avalanche net after allowing two power play goals on three shots with the man advantage.

Colorado got on the board with a power play tally of their own at 8:18 of the middle period, with rookie Gabriel Landeskog banging the puck out from under Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard and into the net.

Danny Cleary restored the Red Wings’ three-goal lead with 5:14 remaining in regulation, first tipping a drive by Pavel Datsyuk, then going to the net to knock home the rebound.

The Avs cut it to 4-2 with a Milan Hejduk power play goal with 3:05 remaining. Hejduk picked up a loose puck right in front of the Detroit net and backhanded it past Howard.

Franzen completed his hat trick to wrap up the game’s scoring, lofting a backhander from the neutral zone into the empty Colorado net with 32 seconds remaining.

Each team scored twice on the power play on the night. The Avalanche had three tries with the extra attacker while the Red Wings had five.

Howard made 24 stops on 26 Colorado shots. Varlamov stopped 13 of the 16 shots he faced before Giguere came in and made 12 saves on 13 shots.

The Red Wings are back in action on Friday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

Todd Beretuzzi (illness) and Patrick Eaves (back) were the scratched forwards for Detroit, while Mike Commodore was a healthy scratch on the blueline.

Red Wings Hold Off Avalanche Comeback, Move into First Place with Win

The Detroit Red Wings weathered a late comeback attempt by the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night, holding on to earn a 3-2 win.

The victory gives Detroit 94 points in the standings, one more than both the San Jose Sharks and the Boston Bruins for first place overall in the league. San Jose has three games in hand on the Red Wings while Boston has one.

Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, and Kris Draper scored for Detroit. Colorado got goals from John-Michael Liles and Milan Hejduk.

Liles opened the game’s scoring with a blast from the high slot through a screen just 3:10 into the game. Ryan Smyth prevented Detroit netminder Ty Conklin from getting a read on the puck.

Filppula evened things up with 19 seconds left in the opening period, lifting a rebound chance past Avs goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Franzen drove to the net and scored on his own rebound to give the Wings a 2-1 lead at 7:03 of the second and Draper banged home a nice feed from Derek Meech 6:30 later.

Hejduk scored with Raycroft on the bench for an extra attacker in the game’s final minutes but Colorado was unable to tie the game.

Conklin finished the night with 25 saves on 27 shots while Raycroft stopped 27 of 30 shots against.

The Red Wings were without Marian Hossa, who sat out after being injured Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Some-Stars Game

As has been reported several places today, Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk will be missing the All-Star Game in Montreal this weekend due to injury.

From Khan…

Datsyuk sustained a hip flexor during the third period of Tuesday’s 6-3 loss in Phoenix. Lidstrom, who scored two goals, finished the game, but apparently is still bothered by the ankle injury that caused him to miss two games Dec. 27-30, after he blocked a shot in Nashville.

I find it extremely interesting that the NHL made such a big deal about getting representatives from all 30 teams onto the rosters, only to replace the two Detroit representatives with a Star and a Shark in Stephane Robidas and Patrick Marleau.

Maybe Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa declined the opportunity, like Brian Rafalski did last year (and I assume did again this year). Do you really mean to tell me, though, that Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson turned down the chance to go? Before you say they don’t deserve it, know that they both have similar or better stats than Colorado All-Star representative Milan Hejduk.

While I hate the NHL’s hypocrisy on the issue, it’s actually a relief for me. Snubbing the Wings means that I won’t be watching the game, which gives me three hours that I didn’t expect to have this weekend.

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.

Avalanche Down Red Wings in Overtime

The Colorado Avalanche earned a 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, scoring with 2:19 remaining in the extra period to pick up the victory.

Brad Richardson scored the game-winner, banging home is own rebound under the arms of the sprawling Chris Osgood, who made the first save after Richardson took a pass from Wojtek Wolski on a two-on-one.

The Avalanche also scored the game’s first two goals, after Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom missed on a penalty shot attempt at the end of the first period.

Milan Hejduk got Colorado on the board with 9:05 remaining in the second. Paul Stastny raced down the left wing and sent the puck into the front of the goal for Hedjuk, who poked it past Osgood.

Just 3:09 later, Tyler Arnason put the Avalanche up by a pair. The puck was knocked free from a scrum along the left wing boards by Wolski and Arnason got to it before any Red Wing could, wristing a high shot over Osgood’s glove.

With 57 seconds remaining in the period, Valtteri Filppula cut the Colorado lead to a goal, wristing a shot from the edge of the left circle past Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj after Pavel Datsyuk threaded a pass to him from the right wing boards.

Only 1:14 into the third, Kris Draper tied things up. Draper spun and threw the puck on net from the left circle and it bounced off Budaj’s stick, the post, Budaj’s back, and into the net.

Colorado regained the lead at 8:41 of the period when Brett McLean got the puck from Hejduk in front of the net and beat Osgood, with Kyle Calder stuck back covering on defense and unable to get position on him.

The Red Wings forced overtime by scoring with 1:27 remaining. A blast by Schneider from the top of the left circle went wide to the far side but deflected off Calder. The puck bounced off Budaj’s back and bumped up against the near post but Draper jumped in and poked it across the goal line just as Budaj found it.

Detroit finished the game with 34 shots, Budaj having stopped 31 of them. Osgood made 23 saves on 27 Colorado shots.

The Red Wings failed to score on their lone power play and the Avalanche were without a goal on their four chances with the extra attacker.

The point gained by forcing overtime pulls Detroit to within one of the Nashville Predators in the race for the Central Division. The Predators play Sunday night in Anaheim, which will give Detroit a game in hand on them.

The Red Wings will be back in action on Tuesday when they host those very same Nashville Predators, one of four remaining games between the two teams.

Red Wings Complete Season Sweep of Avalanche

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.

Czechs Select Lang for Olympics

Detroit Red Wings center Robert Lang will make his fourth career Olympic appearance in February, as he was announced as a member of the Czech Republic’s men’s ice hockey team for the games in Turino, Italy.

The Czech roster also includes former Red Wing goaltender Dominik Hasek, now a member of the Ottawa Senators.

Defenseman Jiri Fischer, who was expected to be named to the team before suffering convulsions on November 21, was not on the final roster.

The four players from the New York Rangers are the most sent by one NHL team to the Czech squad.

The complete roster is as follows:

Goaltenders (3)
Domink Hasek
Milan Hnilicka
Tomas Vokoun

Defensemen (7)
Frantisek Kaberle
Tomas Kaberle
Filip Kuba
Pavel Kubina
Marek Malik
Jaroslav Spacek
Marek Zidlicky

Forwards (13)
Jan Bulis
Petr Cajanek
Martin Erat
Milan Hejduk
Ales Hemsky
Jaromir Jagr
Robert Lang
Rostislav Olesz
Vaclav Prospal
Petr Prucha
Martin Rucinsky
Martin Straka
David Vyborny

Special Teams Lead Wings to OT Win over Avs

The penalty killers for the Detroit Red Wings successfully defended all five chances the Colorado Avalanche had against them and Detroit’s power play units scored twice to help the Red Wings to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Avalanche.

Colorado opened the scoring early, beating Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph twice in the first two minutes of the game.

The game’s first goal came on a bad clearing attempt by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Teemu Selanne blocked the outlet pass and picked up the puck. He fired a weak backhander that slipped by the screed Joseph just 1:34 into the game, putting the Avs on the scoreboard.

Alex Tanguay put Colorado up by two just 18 seconds later. Tanguay got the puck from Milan Hejduk after the faceoof following Selanne’s goal. He sped up the left side of the ice and outraced a Detroit defender. He then outwaited the sprawling Joseph and put the puck in the net.

At the 1:52 mark of the first period, the Avalanche led by two. They would not score again in the remaining 59:05 of the game.

Ray Whitney got the Red Wings back in the game with a power play goal 6:40 into the first. With Avalanche tough guy Peter Worrell in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Whitney took a cross-ice pass from Pavel Datsyuk and fired a blast from the high slot area. The goal was the 200th of his career came 28 seconds into Worrell’s penalty.

Darren McCarty and Mathieu Dandenault, two unlikely heros, combined to tie the game with 8:01 remaining in the second period. McCarty carried the puck into the right corner of the Avalanche zone and backhanded a pass out to Dandenault as he cut through the slot. Dandenault bounced a backhand shot through Colorado goaltender David Aebischer and the game was tied.

The third period was scoreless dispite an early Avalanche power play when the Red Wings were called for an argueable too many men on the ice penalty.

With 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation, the Avs took a penalty of their own as Steve Konowalchuk high-sticked Kris Draper. Blood was drawn, so the penalty was an automatic double-minor. On the ensuing faceoff, Adam Foote lifted his stick into Detroit captain Steve Yzerman‘s face and took another double minor penalty. Heading into overtime, the Red Wings had a two-man advantage.

Skating five-on-three in the extra period, Detroit had an early chance bounce off the post but Brett Hull capitalized on the chance with the man-advantage 57 seconds into overtime. Hull one-timed a pass from Lidstrom past Aebischer to give the Wings the win.

Joseph stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced in net for Detroit. Aebischer made 28 saves on 31 shots for Colorado.

The Red Wings are back in action on Wednesday night against the San Jose Sharks. In the meantime, Lidstrom and Datsyuk will be in St. Paul, Minnesota for the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday.

Showdown in Motown

A rivalry that has revolved around a lot of blood, sweat, and few tears will once again be on display this weekend. The Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche will hook up for the final time of the season on Saturday. The Avs currently have the season series lead by a one game margin, but the Wings will be looking to even things up Saturday afternoon at the Joe.

Detroit is coming into the game with only one regulation loss since losing two in a row 15-games ago. Both of those losses came at the hands of Colorado. The Red Wings have picked up 27 out of a possible 30 points during their current stretch, and now have a 5 point advantage over the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. Detroit is returning home after a 3 game western road swing that saw the Red Wings lose to Anaheim and then go on to pick up wins in both Los Angeles and Phoenix. Newly acquired defenseman Mathieu Schneider donned the red and white for the first time since being traded from L.A. in the win over the Coyotes, and immediately helped to take some of the load off of Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom by logging over twenty-three minutes of ice-time.

Meanwhile, a resurgent Avalanche team now sits only 4 points behind Vancouver for the northwest division lead, and is in 4th place overall in the Western Conference. Much of their recent success can be attributed to the recent play of goaltender Patrick Roy, who after a slumping start to the season has gotten back to his expected level of performance. Colorado’s most recent game saw them beat up on the Blue Jackets 5-1. Joe Sakic netted a natural hat trick in the blowout, scoring all three of his goals in the first period.

-Player To Watch-
Colorado- #20 Bryan Marchment (D) (2 goals, 9 assists). Will the Avs’ new goon look to make his presence felt in this ongoing rivalry? You can bet on it. Called the dirtiest player in the league by many, Marchment will likely not miss his chance to take the hatred felt by both clubs to a whole new level.

Detroit- #23 Mathieu Schneider(D) (14 goals, 30 assists). The Wings’ newest d-man has no time to settle into his new home. It will be interesting to see how Schneider responds to the intensity that is always present when these two teams meet.

-Out or in Doubt-
Colorado- No major injuries to report.

Detroit- D Jiri Fischer. Even with the addition of Schneider, the Wings are still relying on the return of Fischer for the playoffs. Fischer’s presence is certainly missed in games such as these.

-Between da Pipes-
Colorado- #33 Patrick Roy (28-13-12, 2.23 GAA, .918 SV%, 3 SO)

Detroit- #31 Curtis Joseph (28-17-6, 2.59 GAA, .909 SV%, 3 SO)

-Most Points This Season vs. Opposition-
Colorado- 3 tied with 3 points. #21 Peter Forsberg (1 goal, 2 assists), #23 Milan Hejduk (3 goals), #40 Alex Tanguay (1 goal, 2 assists) vs. Detroit

Detroit- #14 Brendan Shanahan with 3 points (3 goals) vs. Colorado

The Game will be televised nationally at 3:00 p.m. eastern time on ABC.

Avs Finish Sweep of Wings in Home-and-Home Series

Powered by two disputed goals and the netminding of Patrick Roy, the Colorado Avalanche completed their two-game sweep of the Detroit Red Wings with a five-to-three victory in Denver.

The Red Wings were leading at the start of the third and looked as though they might split the series before the Avalance scored twice to take the lead. They added an empty-net goal late in the period.

With Detroit leading by one eight minutes into the final period, Adam Foote beat Detroit netminder Curtis Joseph while Colorado forward Peter Forsberg was in the crease. An irate Joseph quickly turned to the referees, who ruled that the play was not reviewable and the goal would stand.

Almost five minutes later, Colorado’s Steve Reinprecht attempted a wrap-around as Joseph scrambled to the side of the net. The puck was deflected off of Radim Vrbata’s skate and Joseph appeared to make the save, but upon review the goal was allowed.

Detroit had taken the lead on two goals by Tomas Homstrom and one by Brendan Shanahan after the Avalanche opened the scoring.

At 7:31 of the first period, Milan Hejduk beat Joseph to put Colorado on the board. Three minutes later, while the Red Wings were on the power play, Tomas Holmstrom skated in on Roy and put the pick past him to tie the game.

Holmstrom got his second of the game just under a minute later, putting a bouncing puck past Roy during a scramble around the net to put the Wings in the lead.

Hejduk’s second of the game re-tied things. While Colorado enjoyed a two-man advantage Hejduk beat Joseph again and evened things up with just over five minutes left in the first period.

Shanahan gave the Wings the lead again early in the second. When a Sergei Fedorov shot got deflected to the side of the net, a wide-open Shanahan flipped the puck into the net.

Hejduk completed the hat trick with Colorado’s empty-net goal, which deflected off a Red Wing stick on the way down the ice.

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