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Avs' Comeback Falls Short in Game One

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

Western Conference Semifinals
Game 1 Review
  Detroit Leads Series 1-0

Game 1 - Detroit 4, Colorado 3
Photos Highlights Coach Q Presser

Game 2 -
Saturday, April 26th @ Detroit
     1:00 p.m. NBC/TSN

Game 3 - Tuesday, April 29th vs. Detroit
       8:00 p.m. VERSUS/TSN/Altitude  Tickets

Game 4 - Thursday, May 1st vs. Detroit
       8:00 p.m. VERSUS/TSN 

Game 5 - Saturday, May 3rd @ Detroit*
     11:00 a.m. NBC/TSN

Game 6 - Monday, May 5th vs. Detroit*
      8:00 p.m. VERSUS/TSN/Altitude 

Game 7 - Wednesday, May 7th @ Detroit*
     TBD; TSN/Altitude
*if necessary

                      Quick Fact
Colorado has now scored the first goal in each of its seven games during the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avs own a 4-3 overall record in the postseason.

        Avs head coach Joel Quenneville
        On not having Forsberg in the lineup
"We knew around 5 o'clock, he pulled his groin in the morning skate . We were hoping he would be able to go, but he wasn't able to go through pregame warmups. Obviously, you miss Peter's talent because he attracts a lot of attention from the opposition."


A second-period goaltending change, which Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles tabbed “a little bit of a wake-up call,” nearly helped Colorado come back from a three-goal deficit against the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

After Detroit put four shots past Avs netminder Jose Theodore to take a 4-1 lead early in the middle frame, the Avalanche battled back to make it a 4-3 contest behind the play of Peter Budaj, who stopped all 20 shots he faced.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Avalanche would get, as Chris Osgood and the Red Wings shut the door during a scoreless third period to earn the victory in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals.

The Avs also played Thursday’s game without forward Peter Forsberg, who sat out with a groin injury.

Theodore, who was feeling the effects of an illness which kept him out of Thursday’s morning skate, was replaced by Budaj at the 1:13 mark of the second period before returning to the team’s hotel.

"He was a little under the weather," Avs forward Ryan Smyth said of Theodore. "I don't think this was all his fault, for sure. He's carried us the last series. He'll get some rest and he'll be ready to go. He's a big part of this ship right now. It was an unfortunate thing to lose him."

The Avs responded almost immediately after Budaj’s entrance, as Liles closed the gap to two goals at 5:17. The defenseman joined the rush, corralled a pass from Cody McLeod and beat Osgood from the left faceoff circle for his first goal of the postseason.

Colorado moved to within one goal following a Milan Hejduk tally at 16:29. Smyth started the play by streaking up the left wing during a 3-on-2 rush before giving way to Paul Stastny, who slipped a feed toward the Detroit goal. The pass landed right on the stick of Hejduk, who buried his third goal of the playoffs to make it a 4-3 contest in favor of Detroit and round out the game's scoring.

The Avs opened the scoring when Smyth made a backhand feed from behind the net to Paul Stastny, who beat Osgood from just outside the crease 8:53 into the contest. The goal was Stastny’s second of the postseason.

It took less than one minute for the Red Wings to answer back, as Henrik Zetterberg worked a give-and-go with Pavel Datsyuk before cutting toward the net and putting a low shot past Theodore at 9:46.

Detroit claimed the lead at 13:48 of the first period on a strange bounce following a Dan Cleary attempt. After Cleary’s shot was stopped by Theodore it bounced high into the air, where the Avs netminder and seemingly everyone on the ice lost sight of it. The puck eventually landed in the crease and rolled over the goal line to give Detroit a 2-1 advantage.

Johan Franzen scored the next two goals of the game to give Detroit a three-goal advantage. Franzen tipped a Niklas Kronwall point shot past Theodore at 17:23 of the first with Detroit on a power play and then sent a one-timer into the Colorado net 1:13 into the second period for the eventual game-winner.

With Detroit’s win in Game 1, the Avs and Red Wings now boast the same record (regular season and playoffs included) over their last 32 games, with each club holding an 18-12-2 mark.

Detroit posted a 13-10-2 record in its final 25 regular season contests, while the Avs held a 14-9-2 mark over the same number of games. Both teams won their first-round series in six games (4-2), giving Detroit a 17-12-2 record and Colorado an 18-11-2 mark over that timeframe, heading into Game 1 of this series.

With Forsberg out of the lineup, Cody McCormick made his playoff debut in Game 1 against the Red Wings. The forward had played in 135 regular season games during parts of four seasons with the Avalanche before appearing in his first postseason contest tonight. McCormick was on Colorado’s 2006 postseason roster, but did not dress in the playoffs.

In 8:38 of ice time, McCormick registered one shot on goal and four hits.

McCormick became the sixth Avalanche player to make his postseason debut in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, joining Jeff Finger, Ben Guite, David Jones, Cody McLeod and Paul Stastny. Budaj then became the seventh Avs player to debut in the postseason later in the game when he replaced Theodore.

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