for this game

Datsyuk helps push Avalanche to brink

Apr 30, 2008 - 6:33 AM
DENVER (Ticker) -- After winning the first two games of the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Detroit Red Wings allowed the Nashville Predators to get back in the series. The Presidents' Trophy winners were not as generous toward the Colorado Avalanche.

Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals and set up another as the top-seeded Red Wings grabbed a commanding three-games-to-none lead in their conference semifinal series against the sixth-seeded Avalanche on Tuesday with a 4-3 triumph in Game Three.

Johan Franzen netted his league-leading eighth goal of the playoffs - and sixth of the series - and Henrik Zetterberg also tallied and recorded an assist for the Red Wings, who can complete a sweep of the best-of-seven matchup here on Thursday.

"It would be ideal, but it's going to be a tough series," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It's a race to win four games. We're up 3-0, but we still haven't gotten that fourth one."

"Any way you look at it, teams are hard to beat," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who was celebrating his 45th birthday on Tuesday. "We've put ourselves in a good situation. We have to prepare for a huge effort from them in the next game."

Andrew Brunette scored twice and Cody McLeod recorded his first career postseason goal for Colorado, which welcomed back Peter Forsberg to the lineup but lost Paul Stastny to a knee injury in the first period.

"They're not the first-place team for nothing," Brunette said. "We had some moments where it looked like we could do what we do well, then we just lost momentum. ... We made it close, we just couldn't get it together at the end."

The Avalanche have a long climb ahead of them, as only two teams have overcome a three-games-to-none deficit in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs accomplished the feat against the Red Wings in the Finals, while the 1975 New York Islanders rallied to top the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarterfinals.

"We just have to try to win one game and go from there," Brunette said. "Try to take some of the good things we did tonight into the next game and try to get a win. Who knows what happens after that."

Detroit opened a 2-0 series lead over Nashville but dropped Games Three and Four at the Sommet Center before putting away the series in six games. It was not about to give Colorado the same life despite surrendering the first goal of the game.

Facing a similar deficit against the Red Wings in 1999, when they lost the first two games of the conference semifinals at home but rallied to win the next four, the Avalanche jumped in front on Tuesday. From along the right wing boards, T.J. Hensick - who was appearing in his first career postseason game - unleashed a slap shot that was headed wide of the net.

But McLeod redirected it past goaltender Chris Osgood at 5:17 of the first period while standing to the right of the crease, giving Colorado a 1-0 edge.

That apparently woke up the Red Wings, who scored goals 58 seconds apart later in the session to move ahead for good.

With Detroit on the power play, Zetterberg carried the puck into the offensive zone on the right wing and cut to the slot before losing possession. But the puck went directly to Datsyuk, who fired it past goaltender Jose Theodore from the left faceoff circle at 12:14 to forge a 1-1 tie.

"They are elite players coming into the prime of their careers," Babcock said of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, who both are finalists for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. "They have great will and determination. That, to me, is what separates you from being a regular player to being a star - how much drive you have and how much heart you have. They're elite in that way.

"Every time something went wrong, they went out and turned the game the right direction for us. They're so good defensively and yet so scary offensively, you can play them against anybody in all situations. They were very effective tonight."

Lidstrom also recorded an assist on the play, the 100th of his postseason career.

Less than a minute later, defenseman Brett Lebda made a pass from the right circle to Franzen, who beat Theodore from the left hash marks with 6:48 left for a 2-1 lead.

"It's going good right now," said Franzen, who recorded a hat trick in Game Two. "But you never know when it's going to end. I'm happy with the way we're playing and the way I'm playing right now."

Datsyuk struck again at 6:36 of the second, completing his second multi-goal performance of the postseason.

Defenseman Brian Rafalski took a wrist shot from the right point that was grabbed before it found its way to Theodore by Datsyuk, who pulled the puck around the netminder and deposited it into a vacant net for his fifth of the playoffs.

Brunette got the Avalanche within 3-2 just 92 seconds later, when he redirected defenseman John-Michael Liles' one-timer from the blue line past Osgood for a power-play goal.

But Zetterberg restored the two-goal bulge with a man-advantage tally of his own at 12:24. From behind the net, the Swede dished to Datsyuk in the right circle before receiving a sensational return pass at the left side of the crease for an easy goal.

"They've got a lot of guys with some skill," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've got to make sure we don't give them the easy goals, easy access to the side of the net for those tap-in type goals."

"We are playing our game," Zetterberg said. "Skate a lot and try to spend as much time as we can in their end. It gets tiring for them and, eventually, we get some goals. ... We knew we were going to get our chances, especially on the power play. We knew we would have to take advantage of that, and we did that tonight."

Zetterberg's goal came with Forsberg serving a double-minor for high-sticking Mikael Samuelsson, a call the Avalanche center mildly disputed.

"I don't think I hit him hard," Forsberg said. "But like I said, it's nothing to complain about. If he's bleeding, he's bleeding. I can't say anything else. It's not like I slashed him in the face."

Once again, Brunette cashed in on a power play at 5:19 of the third to make it a one-goal game. Captain Joe Sakic's shot from the left circle was stopped by Osgood, but Brunette poked in the rebound for his fifth of the postseason.

"Unfortunately, we took some penalties there in the third and kind of invited them back a little bit," Franzen said.

The assist was the second of the game for Sakic, who passed Steve Yzerman for eighth place on the all-time playoff scoring list with 186 points.

The injury-ravaged Avalanche unleashed nine more shots on Osgood but were unable to get the equalizer, with their best chance coming on a shot by David Jones with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

"We really played good the last four minutes," Osgood said. "Getting pucks deep, making sure that we took the guy high and didn't give the puck away. The last three minutes of the game were our best three minutes of the entire game defensively."

"We worked, I know that," Quenneville said. "We battled right to the end. It's tough playing catch-up. I have to commend the guys for doing everything we could do to get the equalizer."

Osgood finished with 30 saves to improve to 5-0 this postseason.

"He came up with some big saves late in the game," said the Swedish Lidstrom, who became the all-time leader among European-born players by appearing in his 201st career playoff game. "He's so calm in net and looks real comfortable and plays with confidence. That spreads throughout the whole team."

Despite the return of Forsberg, who missed the first two games of the series with a groin injury and left in the first period with an apparent foot ailment before returning in the second, Colorado played without the battle-tested Ryan Smyth - who was out with a foot injury - and lost Stastny in the opening session to a bad knee.

The Avalanche also have been without Wojtek Wolski, who suffered an upper body injury in Game One and is not expected to return in the series.

"It's been a little challenging to date in this series," Quenneville said of the injuries. "The nice thing is, today our young kids played a heck of a game. T.J. came in and gave us a lift. Jones was effective and dangerous. It's kind of like the way it was all year. These guys come in and take advantage of the opportunity."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 2 2 0 4
    COLORADO 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - CODY MCLEOD 1 (TYLER ARNASON, T.J. HENSICK) 5:17
    DET - (PP) PAVEL DATSYUK 4 (HENRIK ZETTERBERG, NICKLAS
    LIDSTROM) 12:14
    DET - JOHAN FRANZEN 8 (BRETT LEBDA, MIKAEL SAMUELSSON) 13:12
    2ND PRD: DET - PAV

    Apr 30 12:28 AM
  • 52
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots (Close Finish)

    Red Wings 4, Avalanche 3  3rd - 1:10Apr 30 12:25 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 4
    COLORADO 3
    3RD PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 5 (JOE SAKIC, RUSLAN SALEI) 5:19

    Red Wings 4, Avalanche 3  3rd - 14:41Apr 30 12:02 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 2 2 4
    COLORADO 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - CODY MCLEOD 1 (TYLER ARNASON, T.J. HENSICK) 5:17
    DET - (PP) PAVEL DATSYUK 4 (HENRIK ZETTERBERG, NICKLAS
    LIDSTROM) 12:14
    DET - JOHAN FRANZEN 8 (BRETT LEBDA, MIKAEL SAMUELSSON) 13:12
    2ND P

    Apr 29 11:37 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 4
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: DET - (PP) HENRIK ZETTERBERG 5 (PAVEL DATSYUK, MIKAEL
    SAMUELSSON) 12:24

    Red Wings 4, Avalanche 2  2nd - 7:36Apr 29 11:23 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 3
    COLORADO 2
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 4 (JOHN-MICHAEL LILES, JOE SAKIC)
    10:40

    Red Wings 3, Avalanche 2  2nd - 9:20Apr 29 11:17 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 3
    COLORADO 1
    2ND PRD: DET - PAVEL DATSYUK 5 (JIRI HUDLER, TOMAS HOLMSTROM) 6:37

    Red Wings 3, Avalanche 1  2nd - 13:23Apr 29 11:12 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DETROIT 2 2
    COLORADO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COL - CODY MCLEOD 1 (TYLER ARNASON, T.J. HENSICK) 5:17
    DET - (PP) PAVEL DATSYUK 4 (HENRIK ZETTERBERG, NICKLAS
    LIDSTROM) 12:14
    DET - JOHAN FRANZEN 8 (BRETT LEBDA, MIKAEL SAMUELSSON) 13:12
    SHOTS

    Apr 29 10:46 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 2
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: DET - JOHAN FRANZEN 8 (BRETT LEBDA, MIKAEL SAMUELSSON) 13:12

    Red Wings 2, Avalanche 1  1st - 6:48Apr 29 10:35 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 1
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) PAVEL DATSYUK 4 (HENRIK ZETTERBERG, NICKLAS
    LIDSTROM) 12:14

    Red Wings 1, Avalanche 1  1st - 7:46Apr 29 10:33 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DETROIT 0
    COLORADO 1
    1ST PRD: COL - CODY MCLEOD 1 (TYLER ARNASON, T.J. HENSICK) 5:17

    Red Wings 0, Avalanche 1  1st - 14:43Apr 29 10:20 PM
  • 35
    roots
    spartanblues Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 29 9:16 PM
  • 30
    roots
    bigsexy Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 29 7:55 PM
  • 25
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 29 7:41 PM
  • 20
    roots
    mrman226 Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 29 6:43 AM
  • 15
    roots
    alamowx Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 29 12:57 AM
  • 10
    roots
    barleycorn Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 28 6:34 AM
  • 5
    roots
    TheMeal Added 5 roots

    Red Wings vs. AvalancheApr 25 12:03 PM