March 5, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (26) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jakub Kindl (4) battle for the puck in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Red Wings 2, Avalanche 1: Howard Withstands Avalanche Of Chances, Leads Wings To Win

 

These once-fierce rivals looked evenly-matched in the first period. Both sides skated well and had good opportunities.  David Jones starred for Colorado in the period as he managed four shots on Jimmy Howard.  For Detroit, nine different players record shots on goal against J.S. Giguere, with Franzen and Zetterberg recording two apiece.  After one, no score at the Joe, with the shot advantage going to Detroit margin of one, 12-11.

The Red Wings got on the board first in the second, as Johan Franzen ended his month-long goal drought at 7:00 of the frame. The goal was his fourth of the year, and the lone assist went to Damien Brunner, continuing his solid recent form.  About six minutes later, the Avalanche went on the power play after a Henrik Zetterberg penalty.  A successful kill continued the Avs’ power play woes; the kill made them 0-for-10 over their last three-and-a-half games.  Late in the period the Wings doubled their advantage after Giguere lost a puck shot off the boards by Kronwall in his pads and inadvertently knocked it into the net.  The assists went to Pavel Datsyuk and Jonathan Ericsson, and the time of the goal was 17:32.  After two, the Wings led 2-0.

Detroit entered the third period with an impressive streak intact; for the fourth consecutive game, the Red Wings held their opponents scoreless through 40 minutes.  The Avalanche put a barrage of chances on Howard before a P.A. Parenteau penalty took the Avs off the offensive.  Shortly after, a hard hit against the boards on put the Wings on the 5-on-3…which they promptly squandered.  Colorado quickly resumed their offensive on the Detroit net, but Jimmy Howard stood tall and kept the shutout intact until the Paul Stastny scored after the Avs pulled Giguere in the final two minutes. Final score: Red Wings 2, Avalanche 1.  For the fourth straight game, the Wings took part in a 2-1 contest.

Personally, I still hold a lot of animosity towards Colorado despite the fact that the once-great rivalry is all but dead, so beating them is always a joy for me, perhaps more so than beating certain division rivals.  But more importantly, the victory moved the Wings into the fourth spot in the West as they picked up points number 25 and 26.  The team is still mediocre in one-goal games (5-4-4 on the season) and have scored only six goals over the last four, but they’ve been much-improved defensively, and Howard has maintained sterling form in net (36 saves in this one). If the offense can find its legs, the Wings could hum along through the second half of the season like the well-oiled machine they’ve been over the last two decades.

 

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