DENVER (AP) - Before Manny Legace blew out the candles, he shut out the Avalanche.
Legace, who turned 33 Saturday, handed Colorado its first shutout of the season, leading Detroit past the Avalanche 3-0 at the Pepsi Center.
"I finally won one on my birthday," Legace said. "I've been playing games on my birthday all my life and lost them all - until this one."
Legace (22-6-2) stopped 28 shots. His fourth shutout of the season and 10th of his career left just three teams who haven't been blanked this year: Detroit, Dallas and San Jose.
The Red Wings are 3-0 against the Avalanche this season, but unlike their first two meetings, when they combined for 17 goals, this one was dominated by defense and missed opportunities on the power play.
Detroit, ranked No. 2 in the league in penalty killing, killed off all seven of Colorado's power plays.
"The power play was terrible," Avs captain Joe Sakic said. "We didn't support one another that well. ... I don't think we generated hardly any chances on the power play."
Ten shots to be exact.
"Every time we got the power play, we didn't do anything," lamented Sakic.
Through the first two periods, Colorado managed just five shots in five power plays, drawing the ire of the Pepsi Center crowd. The Avs finally put some life into their fans when they got off three shots on their sixth power play but again Legace kept them from putting the puck into the net.
Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville was stumped over his suddenly scuffling power play unit.
"It's been good all year, but the last two games it has really struggled. We have given away three points in two games, and it was the difference tonight," Quenneville said. "We lost a little bit of our momentum in the game in the second period by missing four opportunities, and that was clearly the difference.
"They are on a roll defensively, killing penalties. Their PK is very smart, they anticipate well and move well together and they were really disruptive on our entries, and we didn't have enough puck presence on our dumps and retrievals and they really frustrated us tonight."
Shortly after killing the Avs' sixth power play, Detroit broke the scoreless tie with Dan Cleary's third goal of the season. He took a nifty pass out of the right corner from Henrik Zetterberg and pushed it past David Aebischer (20-12-2), who had stopped the first 21 shots he faced, at 5:40 of the third period.
Cleary said it was a bit of a lucky break.
"I was open because both teams were changing," Cleary said. "The puck was loose and the puck ended up with us. Zetterberg got it and I shot it through the legs. ... We showed so much patience, but we were frustrated, too, for two periods. There were penalties, but you didn't see them score any goals."
After a Brad May turnover, Tomas Holmstrom picked up the puck and dished it to Mikael Samuelsson, whose wrist shot from the upper left circle at 10:01 made it 2-0, and Robert Lang's breakaway goal capped the scoring at 18:29, sending the fans streaming to the exits.
"The boys gave me a great gift," Legace said. "Three goals in the third period."
Notes: Colorado's Kurt Sauer replaced Ossi Vaananen as Patrice Brisebois's defense partner. Vaananen, who led Colorado with a plus-10 rating, had an operation Friday to repair his right ankle, which he broke the night before at Nashville. ... Avs F Milan Hejduk, who hurt his neck Thursday night, is expected to return to the ice Tuesday night against Edmonton.
|Daniel Cleary (3) ASST: Henrik Zetterberg (32), Johan Franzen (2)|
1 - 0 DET
|Mikael Samuelsson (19) ASST: Tomas Holmstrom (18)|
2 - 0 DET
|Robert Lang (15) ASST: Jason Williams (29), Mathieu Schneider (23)|
3 - 0 DET
|Alex Tanguay Interference against Chris Chelios|
|Brett McLean Interference against Henrik Zetterberg|
|Mathieu Schneider Interference against Antti Laaksonen|
|Jason Williams Hooking against Brad Richardson|
|Andreas Lilja Interference against Marek Svatos|
|Henrik Zetterberg Hooking against Brett Clark|
|Kris Draper Tripping against Brett Clark|
|Nicklas Lidstrom Holding against Marek Svatos|
|Andreas Lilja Interference against Brett McLean|
|Ian Laperriere Tripping against Mikael Samuelsson|