DENVER – It was turn-back-the-clock time Monday night for Chris Osgood, who hardly looked like a 17-year NHL veteran who last month celebrated his 38th birthday.
Osgood had plenty more to celebrate at the Pepsi Center, where he made a career-high 46 saves in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-3 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche to become the 10th goalie in League history to post 400 career victories.
If Osgood didn't reach the milestone back home at Joe Louis Arena, it seemed fitting for him to accomplish the feat in this building against a longtime rival.
"I was excited when I knew I was playing here," said Osgood, who owns a 400-216-95 record in 742 career games. "I played in the old rink, McNichols, and in this one. We have a lot of fans here. That made it special. To win it here, I always loved playing here. I like everything about this place. That was exciting for me. I would have loved to win it at the Joe, but this will do. I've played a lot of games here and the Wings have a lot of fans here. It was a relief to finally get it."
There were plenty of Red Wings fans among the sellout crowd of 18,007 and they chanted "Ozzie, Ozzie" at various times in the game, especially in the second period when he stopped all 23 of the Avalanche's shots.
As well as Osgood played, the Red Wings needed four power-play goals to pull out the victory, the winner coming on Niklas Kronwall's shot during a 4-on-3 skating advantage with 1:18 remaining in the extra period after Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj tripped Darren Helm skating around the net.
"It's a great win for us, finally getting that 400," said Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, whose power-play goal with 5:23 left in the third period gave the Red Wings a 3-2 lead. "I thought the team battled hard and he kept us in the game, especially in the second period when they came after us hard and spent a lot of time in our zone. He came up big for us and it’s a well-deserved win for him.
"I think it makes it even better when you're playing such a strong game as he did," added Lidstrom, who had three assists. "He played at the top of his game and to get the win must be an awesome feeling for him."
Osgood might have wondered if this would be his night after Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored his second goal of the game, this one on a power play, to tie the game 3-3 with 2:36 to go in regulation.
"Our guys just dug down and I thought we played real well in the third," Osgood said. "I mean, we dug down deep and battled after playing last night in Minnesota.
"I was relieved, for sure. I've been working at this for a while now. I wasn't really thinking about it as much as I was in previous games. I just wanted to give us a chance. We have a good team and a good power play, and our power play won us the game."
Budaj, starting for the first time since a 6-5 road loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 4, finished with 26 saves. The Red Wings had the only three shots in overtime.
"I think it was a good game for the fans," he said. "We all played well and I don't want to take anything away from Detroit, but I think we played better. Osgood played great; he made some big saves for them. Their power play was going, but 5-on-5, I think we definitely outplayed them."
Osgood, making just his ninth appearance of the season, was simply sensational in the face of a relentless Avalanche attack. Colorado outshot Detroit 23-9 in the second period and 49-27 through regulation.
"They've scored a ton of goals this year," he said. "They have a good offense, so I had to be ready. I anticipated they would have some shots on net and I was ready for it. In the second we couldn't get the puck out of our zone. We just weathered the storm."
The first period ended in a 2-2 tie, with the Red Wings twice erasing one-goal deficits with power-play goals against what have been porous Avalanche penalty-killing units.
Colorado has allowed at least one power-play goal in five consecutive games, permitting nine goals in the past 21 short-handed situations.
The Avalanche scored twice on their first five shots, with Duchene putting in a rebound at 3:29 and TJ Galiardi beating Osgood to the short side at 6:21 with a shot from just above the left faceoff circle.
"I felt a little rusty early because of Christmas break, but I felt really good at about the 10-minnute mark," Osgood said. "I would like to have the second one back, but that was already done and I just focused on trying to shut the door from that point on and give the guys an opportunity to win."
The Red Wings countered with power-play goals by Jiri Hudler at 5:35 and Johan Franzen at 12:32.
Hudler put in his own rebound from the right circle 30 seconds after Galiardi went off for tripping for his second goal of the season and first point in 14 games.
Franzen scored even faster, taking Lidstrom's pass in the left circle and wiring a shot by Budaj seven seconds after John-Michael Liles took a cross-checking penalty.
Osgood also made a number of tough saves when the Red Wings killed off a 67-second two-man disadvantage while trailing 2-1.
"It's an upsetting game," Galiardi said of the Avalanche's third loss in a row. "Forty-nine shots on net just shows how good we were playing. Sometimes that's the way it goes. You deserve to win and you don't get it."