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Detroit Red Wings 3, Colorado Avalanche 1 FINAL @NHLdotcom

DENVER (AP) _ Detroit got just what it needed from Manny Legace. Colorado got another disappointing loss.

Legace stopped 34 shots and Detroit scored twice in the final 2{ minutes, lifting the Red Wings to a 3-1 win over Colorado on Thursday night.

``Manny was the story,'' Detroit coach Dave Lewis said. ``Manny was the difference in the game.''

With Dominik Hasek out for the season with a groin injury and Curtis Joseph scheduled to have an MRI Friday on his sore right ankle, the Red Wings might have to rely on Legace more than they had hoped.

He was superb last month, allowing 13 goals during an 8-1-1 streak, but had fallen off over the past week. Legace was pulled Sunday after giving up four goals on 12 shots in a loss to Anaheim and had allowed 13 goals in three games.

He was back in form against the Avalanche, using good positioning a handful of spectacular saves to keep the Red Wings even with Tampa Bay for the league's best record.

``Everyone's worried about it around here and panicking, and I was just trying block everybody's panic out,'' Legace said. ``I been through those in my career, where bounces are just not going you way. It's hard work to get you out of it.''

The Avalanche came out aggressive, but didn't take advantage of its opportunities for the second straight game. Steve Konowalchuk scored with 31 seconds left _ too late to stop Colorado's winless streak from reaching five games (0-4-1).

The Avalanche have been particularly bad at home, where they're 2-6-4-1 the past 13 games and 5-for-60 on the power play _ 0-for-3 Thursday _ since Detroit was in town last on Feb. 5.

``We are going through a problem where we can't score big goals, let's be honest,'' Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. ``It's frustrating.''

Detroit managed just 23 shots, but made the most of them. Tomas Holmstrom scored on a power play in the first period and Pavel Datsyuk sealed the win with 2:32 left when goalie David Aebischer failed to cover a shot by Henrik Zetterberg.

Zetterberg added an empty-net goal to push the Red Wings over the 100-point mark (101) for the fifth straight year and seven points ahead of Colorado in the Western Conference.

``We've been stressing the last couple of games to build up towards playoffs,'' Legace said. ``We know that we're going to get into the playoffs. It's just getting things fine tuned.''

The Avalanche could use a little tuning, too.

Colorado took an early two-goal lead against Chicago on Tuesday night before giving up two goals in the third period for a 2-2 tie. The Avalanche got off to another good start against the Red Wings, with tight checking and numerous good scoring chances.

Again, it didn't do them much good.

The Red Wings had just five shots in the period, but scored on the second of two power plays when Holmstrom slipped out from the side of the goal and ripped a slap shot over Aebischer's stick shoulder.

Legace made it look easy at the other end, positioning himself perfectly for each of Colorado's 12 shots.

``I think we have been generating scoring chances. We had a lot of chances tonight,'' Colorado's Joe Sakic said. ``We aren't putting the puck in the net. Whether it's goaltending or not, we are generating chances.''

Colorado kept up the same pace in the second period, but still couldn't beat Legace.

He started off with sliding stop on Rob Blake's one-timer from just outside the crease on a power play, then somehow found Brett Clark's shot through traffic a few minutes later.

Aebischer wasn't bad, either.

He opened the second period by sliding over to stop Kirk Maltby's one-timer on a pass through the crease, then blocked a shot by Datsyuk and covered the rebound by sitting down next to the post.

Legace was even better in the third period.

He stopped Joe Sakic on consecutive shots from a tough angle with about seven minutes left, then blocked Sakic's whirling shot and knocked Milan Hejduk's rebound attempt out of the air with his stick a few seconds later.

Legace stopped 11 shots in the period.

``We didn't have a lot of pep and energy and to play a team like that, and we have to have that,'' Lewis said. ``The only other way to get it done is with goaltending and that is what we did.''

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