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game recap

Tomas Tatar, Red Wings top Avalanche

Detroit forward scores twice in final game between rivals at Joe Louis Arena

by Dave Hogg / Correspondent

DETROIT -- Tomas Tatar scored two goals 1:36 apart in the third period, and the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.

Tatar scored the first two of the Red Wings' four goals in the period and had an assist on the third.

"This is what we've needed all season," he said. "When we get a lead, we need the extra goals to calm everything down."


WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Red Wings highlights


The Avalanche (20-47-3) played their final game at Joe Louis Arena, almost two decades after the rivals faced each other in the 1997 Western Conference Final. Detroit won that series in six games. The Red Wings (28-31-11) move to Little Caesars Arena next season.

"It was fun to watch all the old highlights," said Nathan MacKinnon, who scored Colorado's goal. "We need to get this franchise back to a place where it is playing huge games like that."

Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist each had a goal and an assist, and Jimmy Howard made 23 saves for Detroit.

"It was great to see this offense," Howard said. "There were a lot of games this year where the effort was there for 60 minutes, but we couldn't put anything on the scoreboard."

Video: COL@DET: Nyquist, Zetterberg connect for nifty goal

Calvin Pickard made 18 saves for Colorado.

"I just wasn't good enough in the third," he said. "Once they got their second goal, everything kind of snowballed."

Justin Abdelkader gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 16:43 of the second period. He took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and beat Pickard with a wrist shot from between the faceoff circles for his sixth goal.

MacKinnon made it 1-1 with his 15th goal at 3:44 of the third. Tyson Barrie's shot from the point hit MacKinnon's skate and deflected past Howard.

The Red Wings took a 2-1 lead at 5:20, when Luke Glendening forced a turnover at the Colorado blue line and set up Tatar for his first goal of the game. Tatar made it 3-1 at 6:56, beating Pickard with a wrist shot for his 20th goal.

Video: COL@DET: MacKinnon tips Barrie's shot into the net

"It's nice to get 20, but I would trade that for being a lot closer to the playoffs," he said.

Larkin scored Detroit's second power-play goal at 13:45 to make it 4-1.

"I liked our game for two periods and five minutes, but then we had a turnover at our blue line that led to one rush goal, a turnover at their blue line that led to another rush goal and then we gave up a power-play goal," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

Nyquist gave the Red Wings a 5-1 lead at 16:18, scoring after a pass from Zetterberg for his 10th goal.


Goal of the game

Leading 2-1 in the third period, the Red Wings used a quick passing play in transition to increase their lead. Larkin shoveled a backhand pass to Nyquist, who moved the puck across the ice to Tatar. He broke out past the blue line and beat Pickard with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot.

Video: COL@DET: Tatar snipes wicked wrister from the circle


Save of the game

Larkin used his speed to beat defenseman Mark Barberio and break in alone on Pickard in the second period, but the goaltender stopped a point-blank shot with his stick and left pad.

Video: COL@DET: Pickard shuts the door on Larkin's break


Highlight of the game

With the game tied 1-1 in the third period, Glendening stripped Johnson at the Colorado blue line, beat him to the inside and froze Pickard before sliding a short pass to Tatar for the easy goal.

"That was just an unbelievable effort by Luke," Tatar said.

Video: COL@DET: Tatar buries Glendening's awesome dish


Unsung performance of the game

Riley Sheahan screened Pickard when the puck popped loose in front of the net and he stayed put instead of trying to chase it down for a shot. As a result, Larkin took advantage of the screen for his 15th power-play goal of the season.

Video: COL@DET: Larkin capitalizes on loose puck for PPG


They said it

"We're a proud bunch of guys in this room, and no one wants to go through a season like this." -- Avalanche forward John Mitchell


"It was awesome to be a part of the last game with Colorado at the Joe. When they showed that highlight video about the rivalry on the scoreboard, I got the chills." -- Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, who grew up in suburban Detroit


Need to know

Detroit forward Darren Helm left the game in the second period after injuring his left leg after an open-ice collision with Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson. Coach Jeff Blashill said he's not sure if Helm will be able to play Monday against the Buffalo Sabres. ... The Red Wings and Avalanche played each other six times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs during Detroit's time at Joe Louis Arena, which opened during the 1979-80 NHL season. Each team won three series.


What's next

Avalanche: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, WGN, ALT, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-D, NHL.TV)


Video: Tatar scores two in Red Wings' 5-1 win vs. Avalanche

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