NHL Game Summary - Detroit at Colorado
(Saturday, December 27th)
Final Score: Colorado 4, Detroit 3 (SO)
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Wojtek Wolski scored the only goal of the shootout, and Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj made 41 saves to help the Avalanche log a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
The Avs have won both matchups with the Red Wings this season, having picked up a win December 15 in Detroit, and started to swing the series momentum their way after the 2007-08 campaign. Detroit swept Colorado in last season's conference semifinals after winning all four regular-season games.
Ryan Smyth and John-Michael Liles each notched a goal and an assist while Ruslan Salei scored his first of the season for the Avalanche, who have won three of four. Colorado played for the first time without the team's leading scorer in Paul Stastny, who was struck with a puck in Tuesday's win over Phoenix and suffered a broken forearm.
Although no official timetable for his return has been revealed, Stastny, who has 31 points on the year, is expected to be sidelined until at least late January.
"It's a big win for us and it was a great atmosphere. The fans sure take it (Detroit) seriously," Budaj said of the fierce rivalry. "I was able to see the puck well today."
Tomas Holmstrom had a goal and two assists while Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk also lit the lamp for the Red Wings, who had a three-game winning streak halted Friday in Nashville and dropped consecutive games for the third time this season.
Mikael Samuelsson contributed two assists and Ty Conklin stopped 29-of-32 shots in starting for the fifth straight game in place of Chris Osgood, who is battling a groin strain.
Red Wings rearguard Nicklas Lidstrom sat out the contest after taking a puck off his ankle in the Nashville game.
In the shootout, Wolski faked backhand and switched back to the forehand to score into an empty net in either team's first attempt, and Datsyuk came back to hit the post on a hard wrister for Detroit. Marek Svatos was turned back on a rising wrister for the Avs, but Budaj smothered Henrik Zetterberg's forehand offering. Milan Hejduk had a chance to win it but fired into the pads of Conklin. The game was then up to Budaj, who also squeezed the pads together to stop Jiri Hudler's attempt to go five-hole, sealing the Colorado win.
"Sometimes you shoot as hard as you can and it just hits their stick," Zetterberg said, speaking about the shootout. "We had a lot of special teams work tonight and were able to come back (in the second period)."
The Avalanche came out on fire and scored three times on the power play over the first 20 minutes. Salei's goal started things, as the puck pinballed its way through the slot off a pair of Detroit players into the net at 5:32.
Smyth's tally came just after the midway point after Hejduk's shot sailed wide, with the carom coming right to Smyth, camped to the right of the net, for the goal. Liles then directed a slap shot through Smyth's screen and past Conklin later in the period.
"We tried to get some shots through -- we were passing up a lot of those shots before. The biggest thing was we were able to find some lanes," Liles said.
Detroit quickly erased a three-goal deficit and tied the game with three in the middle frame. Datsyuk was able to put back a rebound off his own shot for a power-play goal with 5:54 remaining, after Budaj lost sight of the puck. Holmstrom then set up a screen and tipped a Samuelsson offering from the high slot just over 1 1/2 minutes later with the man-advantage.
Franzen brought the Red Wings all the way back after receiving a cross-ice pass from Brian Rafalski, one-timing a shot below the right circle from a wide angle to beat Budaj on the short side.
Budaj had to make 17 saves over the next 25 minutes to send the game to a shootout while Conklin faced only seven shots between the third period and overtime -- but turned each back.
Detroit had won two straight and seven of its last eight regular-season tilts in Denver coming into Saturday...Datsyuk ran his point streak to seven games. He has six goals and eight assists over his scoring streak...Detroit is now 11-5-2 as the visiting team this year and has lost four of its last five road tests...Colorado has a 10-6-0 ledger as the host this year.
12/28 01:02:04 ET