Detroit at Colorado (3/1/10)

Well, the Olympics are over and it was a quite a show. Congratulations to Mike Babcock and Steve Yzerman for Team Canada’s gold medal performance. Congratulations also to Brian Rafalski for Team USA’s silver medal. Rafalski was awesome in the Olympics including back to back two goal games. Paul Stastny of the Avalanche was also on Team USA. And, congrats to Filppula for his bronze medal with Team Finland. Filppula got one extra day of rest since the bronze medal game was on Saturday. The rest of the Red Wings’ Olympians had multiple days off since they didn’t make it to the final four.

There’s no rest for the weary as Detroit and Colorado jumped right back into their NHL seasons just one day after the gold medal game. Game on!

Tonight’s game was on the road in Denver. Jimmy Howard was in net for the Wings and Craig Anderson was the goalie for the Avs. One big bit of news was that Lilja returned to the net lineup tonight after being out for a full year. Welcome back, Andreas! Maltby decided to go ahead with his shoulder surgery so he went onto long term injured reserve which freed up the cap space needed for Lilja to come back.

The Red Wings didn’t waste much time getting warmed up. In the first period the Wings brought the puck up ice and Stuart dished it back to Datsyuk. Datsyuk passed across to Holmstrom streaking up the left wing. Holmstrom ripped a perfect shot and buried it to take the early lead one to nothing.

A few minutes later the Wings went on the power play. Lidstrom shot the puck and the rebound was turned aside to the corner. Holmstrom went after it and passed it to Franzen. Franzen walked it towards the net and fired it, beating Anderson and giving the Wings the two goal lead.

In the second period the Red Wings had a power play goal waived off because of incidental contact with the goalie. It was a very questionable call. Holmstrom was definitely in the crease but he hardly made any contact with Anderson. Apparently Kerry Fraser felt that he was preventing Anderson from moving freely in the crease.

A few minutes after that, the Avalanche scored. Chris Stewart passed the puck from behind the net to the slot where Stastny whacked at it. Howard stopped it but Galliardi was there to put it right back on net, beating Howard for the Avs’ first goal of the night.

Not long after their first goal Colorado tied it up. Stewart fired it on net and it got between Howard’s legs. This was one that he’d probably want to do over since I’m sure he could stop it nine times out of ten.

Just past the halfway point of the third period the Red Wings were on the power play. Datsyuk worked the puck down low and crossed in front of the net with it. It looked for all the world like he was going to shoot and the longer he held it the farther over Anderson moved. Instead of shooting he put a nice bow on it and dished it back to Lidstrom who was standing in the high slot. He received the pass and shot it into the net, which was wide open. Fantastic play by Datsyuk! That made it three to two Red Wings.

Colorado pressured hard and pulled their goalie at the end but the score held. The Red Wings won it three to two.

It was a great game for the Wings. The Avalanche didn’t play very well for the first half of the game but the Red Wings looked really sharp and had a ton of energy. I’d say the time off (for some) and the extra work (for others) has been beneficial for the Wings. Now they just need to keep it rolling.

This 3-2 win brings us to:
70 points

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