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Hockey

Ranford runs out of luck

Avalanche turn back Red Wings 5-3, get back into series

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Posted: Wednesday May 12, 1999 12:43 AM

  Although Detroit outshot Colorado 47-36, Adam Foote (right) and the Avalanche won Game 3. AP

DETROIT (AP) -- The charm wore off for Bill Ranford and suddenly the Detroit Red Wings aren't invincible any more.

Ranford, the backup Detroit goaltender, let five of the first 23 shots get past him and the Colorado Avalanche continued their success on the road, snapping the Red Wings' playoff winning streak with a 5-3 victory Tuesday night.

"I'm just disappointed," Ranford said. "But, you play this game 27 years and I guess you expect nights like this once in a while."

The Avalanche, 4-0 on the road in the playoffs, ended Detroit's winning streak at 11 games, dating back to last season.

"The puck maybe had eyes a little bit tonight," said Avalanche defenseman Aaron Miller, who scored Colorado's fifth goal. "Sometimes you need that."

With recently released POW Christopher Stone watching from the box of Detroit owner Mike Ilitch, the Avalanche also got goals from Claude Lemieux, Theoren Fleury, Dale Hunter and Chris Drury.

The Red Wings, seeking their third straight Stanley Cup, have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 second-round series which continues Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. Game 5 will be Sunday back in Denver.

"Going down 3-0 would have been awful, but this win just means that Game 4 is just as important," Hunter said.

Steve Yzerman, Tomas Holmstrom and Vyacheslav Kozlov scored for the Red Wings.

Ranford, the 1990 NHL playoff MVP with Edmonton, was starting his third straight game in goal in place of the injured Chris Osgood, who is out with a sprained right knee.

Despite playing little since being obtained along with three others before the March 23 trading deadline, Ranford had been remarkably solid during the first two games -- including a 4-0 victory in Game 2.

Detroit coach Scotty Bowman wouldn't say who might be in goal for Game 4, but it's likely to be Ranford again.

"We haven't even thought about that," Bowman said. "He [Osgood] hasn't been on the ice since Sunday morning. He got better, then he kind of leveled off."

The Avalanche, who had been preaching self-discipline while losing twice in Denver, finally heeded their own advice in the first period -- and it paid off. Colorado took only one penalty in the period and skated off with a 2-1 lead against the Red Wings, who were short two men when the Avalanche broke through.

Lemieux tied it 1-1 at 11:00 of the first period while Colorado had a two-man advantage. The goal, Lemieux's second of the playoffs, ended a scoreless string of 122 minutes, 44 seconds for the Avalanche, who hadn't scored since the first period of Game 1.

"I think that kind of turned the tide for them," Bowman said.

The Avalanche took the lead on Fleury's fifth goal, with 3:01 left in the first. Fleury, at the right side of the goal, flipped the puck easily over Ranford, who was flat on his back.

The Avalanche blew it open with three goals -- the first each for Hunter, Drury and Miller -- in the first 5:05 of the second period and Norm Maracle replaced Ranford.

"We finally got a couple rebounds by crashing the net," Avalanche center Peter Forsberg said. "They really didn't give us much ice to work with until it got to be 5-1, but we did a good job of going to the net.

"I think that we got him thinking about guys coming at him from the side, and that made a difference."

Yzerman gave Detroit the early lead at 7:07 of the first, two seconds after Lemieux returned from the penalty box.

It was Yzerman's ninth playoff goal, a career best for the Red Wings' captain. Yzerman scored eight in 18 games in 1996, the last time Detroit failed to win the Cup. The team record is 10 by Petr Klima in 1988 and Sergei Fedorov last year.

Holmstrom's fourth goal cut the deficit to 5-2 with 9:09 left in the second and Kozlov scored a power-play goal, his fourth, with 34.5 seconds remaining.

Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy was both brilliant and lucky in the third period. Roy managed to get a skate on what looked like a sure goal for Holmstrom at 6:43. Larry Murphy's slap shot with 8:49 left glanced off Roy, then off the left post.

"We were really tired in the third period, but Patrick was just awesome," Miller said. "There are times when we need him to carry us on our back, and he did it again tonight."

The Red Wings outshot Colorado 47-36, thanks to a 21-5 edge in the third period.

 
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