Work in Sports
DETROIT (Ticker) -- With their backs to the wall, the Detroit Red Wings took advantage of a pair of costly Colorado penalties and the loss of the Avalanche's top defenseman to get back into their Western Conference semifinal series.
Sergei Fedorov's power-play goal snapped a second-period tie and Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots as the Red Wings posted a 3-1 triumph over the Avalanche in Game Three of their best-of-seven series.
"When you are down two games, you know you are just a game from being down three so it gives us a lot of confidence," Detroit coach Scotty Bowman said. "I think our goaltending was terrific and we got some goals at important times. This gets us back into the series with a solid home win."
After dropping the first two games of the series at Colorado, during which they scored one goal while failing to score on nine power-play opportunites, Detroit tallied twice with the man advantage tonight. The Red Wings have an opportunity to tie the series on Wednesday.
"I think the biggest thing was our power play and that we did a really good job of forechecking 5-on-5," Bowman said. "They had some chances on the power play, but we did really well even strength."
Colorado is hoping history does not repeat itself in favor of Detroit. Last year, the Avalanche lost the first two games to the Red Wings before winning four straight to close out the then two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.
"They came at us like we expected and it could have been worse after one (period)," Colorado captain Joe Sakic said. "We have to do better in the neutral zone. We let them get their speed up tonight."
With the score tied, 1-1, midway through the second period, Colorado's Shjon Podein was sent off for tripping and Detroit took advantage.
Fedorov collected the puck from defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and held it for several seconds at the left boards before letting go a slap shot from the top of the circle that beat a screened Patrick Roy for the eventual game-winner.
"I'm usually on the other side," Fedorov said. "I saw a couple of guys blocking the view of the goaltender and I let it rip. I like that short side."
Just over two minutes earlier, Peter Forsberg brought the Avalanche even with a power-play goal of his own, his fourth tally in as many games.
Despite not being tested often, Osgood came up with the big saves when he needed to. He preserved the lead late in the second period by making a sprawling glove save on Colorado defenseman Adam Foote. He also survived a couple of anxious moments in the third period before Brendan Shanahan sealed the win with an empty-net goal.
"I don't mind if it's 2-0 or 2-1, but I don't mind when we score four goals either," Osgood said. "I still think we are capable of playing better. I think (the scoring) will turn aroud. It's a tough series, but we have to keep going to the net."
But Osgood did need a little help from the goaltender's best friend. With the Red Wings leading, 1-0, Colorado's Adam Deadmarsh had his blast from the right side hit the right post near the midway point of the first period.
Colorado's Ray Bourque suffered a bruised left foot and did not return for the third period, one that saw the Avalanche manage just six shots while failing to tie it on a power play midway through the session.
"It's not broken," Bourque said. "We hope it can go down in a couple of days and I'll be all right. I got hit by the puck in the second period. I finished the period, but as I went on, the pain was too bad that I couldn't go out for the third."
Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy looked strong, stopping 33 shots, but fell to 6-2 this postseason. His best save came midway through the third period when he got a piece of Martin Lapointe's point-blank shot that kept the deficit at one.
"Patrick made some big saves for us and Osgood was good in the second period, but in the third we didn't really test him," Sakic said.
Any hopes of Colorado tying the game dimmed when rookie defenseman Martin Skoula hooked down Detroit's Steve Yzerman away from the puck with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Avalanche lost for just the second time in their last 16 games overall and have never held a 3-0 lead in a conference semifinal series.
"The first three games showed that 5-on-5, there's not much ice available," Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. "You have to battle for every inch. Both are great offensive and defensive teams who play well in all three zones. We had a couple of chances, but they played a good game and deserved to win."
Igor Larionov opened the scoring midway through the first period and gave the Red Wings their first lead of the series. Lidstrom attempted a centering pass near the left corner that was deflected by Lapointe at the top of the crease before Larionov batted it in from the right side.
"We wanted to make them play from behind," Detroit's Darren McCarty said. "I think that was as good a third period as we played in this seres. It's a power play series. It's imperative to stay out of the box."
Larionov's goal equaled Detroit's output for the first two games combined. In Game Two, Tomas Holmstrom put the puck into a vacated net after it took a weird bounce off the end boards during a dump play.