Work in Sports
DENVER (Ticker) -- The Colorado Avalanche will head to Detroit with their power play humming, their future Hall of Fame goaltender on fire and a two games to none lead.
Milan Hejduk and Peter Forsberg scored on the power play and Patrick Roy again was a wall, making 29 saves and allowing only a fluke goal, leading Colorado to a 3-1 over the Detroit Red Wings in Game Two of their Western Conference semifinal series.
Hejduk scored his second playoff goal 8:12 into the game. With Steve Duchesne serving a double-minor for high-sticking, Hejduk skated at the net from the left corner and shoveled his own rebound over Chris Osgood's stick side from close range.
Forsberg scored for the third straight game at 15:49, this time on 4-on-3 advantage, to make it 2-0. He carried the puck past star defenseman and fellow Swede Nicklas Lidstrom at the right point, then badly faked out three-time Norris Trophy winner Chris Chelios before rifling a wrist shot over Osgood's glove from the slot.
"We have not had as many penalties after the scrums as they have. It is tough on them," Forsberg said. "It is so much easier to play when we have a lead. They have to chase all the time. You have to be careful with any penalties you take in the playoffs, they can kill you."
The Avalanche, winners of 14 of their last 15 games, converted 2-of-8 chances on the power play, holding the Red Wings scoreless in five opportunities.
"We are not going to comment on the officiating," Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. "You guys run with everything we give you."
"They call them the way they see it," added Red Wings right wing Darren McCarty. "That's the way it goes. ... They get a two-goal lead and then they lay back. We've played hard. Hopefully, we'll get some bounces at home."
Holmstrom finally got the Red Wings their first goal of the series with 11:48 left in the game, slicing the deficit to 2-1. Chelios, who had been without a point in Detroit's first five postseason games, dumped the puck along the left boards and when it bounced in front of the vacant net as Roy went behind to play it, Holmstrom whacked it in.
"The puck was supposed to come back to me off the boards," Roy explained. "I got hit, but I got my form back and then I had to focus back on the game again. I know how they feel. We were down two to them last year. They will be desperate, we'll have to come out with our best game of the year."
"The goal was kind of a gift for us," Bowman said. "I hope we can feed on that. We had a lot of chances after that."
Roy narrowly missed handing Detroit a second straight playoff shutout for the first time in 55 years, but easily was good enough to give the Avalanche a home sweep of the opening two games. He backstopped a 2-0 win in Thursday's opener.
Roy's playoff shutout streak against the Red Wings reached 130 minutes, 19 seconds since Game Six of the Western Conference semifinals on May 18, 1999.
Detroit won the first two games of that series on the road before Colorado took the next four. The Avalanche are 3-0 in conference semifinal series since moving from Quebec for the 1995-96 season.
"We won two at McNichols (Arena), then they buried us last year," said McCarty, whose team was not as fortunate at Colorado's new home, the Pepsi Center, today and Thursday. "We got to do that to them this year."
"It took a weird goal to get some flow for us," Detroit left wing Kirk Maltby added. "They are playing well defensively.
They have buckled down after a two-goal lead in both games. We played better after being down two today, but we got to do more than that."
Chris Drury put the finishing touches on the win with an empty-net goal with 59 seconds remaining.
"Things are more intense now," said Drury, the 1999 Calder Trophy winner. "When they come out, we got to hit them harder.
We worked on our neutral-zone checking. Their bread and butter is moving quickly into the offensive zone. We got to keep shutting them down from the middle."
Osgood made 30 saves for the Red Wings, who host Game Three on Monday night.