Work in Sports
DENVER (Ticker) -- Goaltender Patrick Roy stopped 25 shots in his 13th career postseason shutout as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0, in Game One of their Western Conference semifinal series.
In the fiercest rivalry in hockey, Colorado used its stifling defense to stop Detroit's high-flying offense, which had cruised to a four-game sweep of Los Angeles in the opening round.
Peter Forsberg and Sandis Ozolinsh tallied for the Avalanche, which has won 13 of 14 and showed no ill effects of having six days off since completing a five-game elimination of Phoenix in their quarterfinal matchup.
Roy set the tone with a stop on Kris Draper's one-timer from the slot just five minutes into the contest. Detroit outshot Colorado in the first period, 10-7, but most of the chances came from beyond the faceoff circles.
"I know I had to come out and make saves right off the bat," Roy said. "We played really great in the second and third. It's early and it's so far to go. They have to win at least one here. Everyone was sharp tonight, we were so strong defensively. I was able to see my shots."
Over five minutes later, Forsberg gave the future Hall of Fame goaltender all the offense he needed after a mistake by the usually reliable Red Wings' defense.
Steve Duchesne weakly fired the puck around the boards. Adam Deadmarsh stole it and fired a shot which Forsberg redirected between the pads of Chris Osgood for his second postseason tally.
Once the Avalanche got the lead, they used a stifling neutral zone defense, preventing the Red Wings from getting serious chances on Roy.
"The problem at first, they kept picking the puck at the blue line," Avalanche defenseman Aaron Miller said. "In the second, we kept them in the neutral zone. I don't know what we need to change. Patty played great and we cleared the rebounds."
Since the Avalanche moved to Denver before the 1995-96 season, the teams have met in the playoffs four straight years, with each winning twice. Last season, the Avalanche rallied from down two games to win the series in six.
Heading into Game Two here Saturday, Colorado has won 13 of its last 14 games.
Except for the two tough goals, Osgood gave another strong performance, collecting 24 savesbut losing for the first time in the postseason.
"They are a smart team and move the puck well," Detroit winger Darren McCarty said. "We have to be patient and pick our spots. Both teams are creative. Their transition game is one of the best in the league. Osgood was strong, we have got to give him more support."
Detroit missed out on a golden chance to tie the game late in the first period. After dumping the puck around the boards, Roy had it carom off a partition which allowed it to jump in front of the crease, only to be cleared away by Jon Klemm before any Red Wing could tap it in the vacated net.
"We're not too far off," Detroit defenseman Larry Murphy said. "We're not as sharp as we needed to be. We have to come back next game. You have to move the puck as much as you can. You have to keep their chances of getting it to a minimum. We'd like to create more opportunities. We have got to carry more of the play."
With Martin Lapointe off for roughing, the Avalanche took the important 2-0 advantage with a power-play tally from Ozolinsh. Taking a cross-ice feed from Forsberg at the left point, Ozolinsh fired a slap shot through traffic and off the right post for his fourth goal of the postseason.
The power-play tally was the first allowed by the Red Wings after 25 straight penalty kills in the playoffs.
Roy, who already holds the NHL record with 115 playoff wins, moved into a tie with Turk Broda for third on the all-time shutout list. Jacques Plante is next with 14 and Clint Benedict has 15.