DENVER (AP) _ Boos and debris rained down on the ice. This wasn't the ending
Colorado's fans wanted in a matchup of the NHL's two best teams and biggest
The Avalanche weren't too excited about it, either.
Brett Hull scored 57 seconds into overtime after two Colorado players were
hit with penalties at the end of regulation, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a
3-2 win over the Avalanche on Thursday night.
``It was a good game all the way,'' Colorado's Steve Konowalchuk said.
``It's unfortunate it had to end that way.''
Detroit had a two-man advantage to start overtime after Konowalchuk and Adam
Foote were called for simultaneous four-minute high-sticking penalties in the
final 1.6 seconds.
Normally NHL overtimes are played 4-on-4, but in this case the Red Wings
were given a 5-on-3 edge to begin the period.
The crowd booed throughout the overtime and started throwing bottles and
cups on the ice after Hull's hard shot from the top of the right circle went in
over David Aebischer's right shoulder.
``They may have been a little misfortunate to go 5-on-3 in overtime, but
we've got a couple of guys bleeding in here to warrant it,'' said Detroit's Ray
Whitney, who scored his 200th career goal in the second period.
Low-scoring Mathieu Dandenault also had a goal, and Curtis Joseph stopped 29
shots for Detroit, 5-2-4 its last 11 games.
Teemu Selanne and Alex Tanguay scored for Colorado, 5-0-2-2 in its last
The Avalanche and Red Wings have won five of the past eight Stanley Cup
titles and met in the playoffs three times in five years.
They've also been two of the league's best teams most of this season;
Colorado entered with a league-leading 72 points and Detroit was tied for
second just two behind.
Meeting for the first time so late in the season only added to the buildup.
The crowd was into it right away, buzzing during the national anthem and
starting the derogatory chants with the first drop of the puck.
The Wings and Avs gave them plenty to cheer about with the kind of wide-open
scoring chances and dazzling moves that looked more like a prelude to this
weekend's All-Star game than a regular-season match.
``This was an exciting game between two highly-skilled teams, going end to
end,'' Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. ``You saw great saves and great
plays, and some great goals. It was an exciting game.''
Selanne got things started just 1:34 in, flipping a backhander through
traffic past Joseph after gloving Nicklas Lidstrom's weak pass in Detroit's
The roar from Selanne's 13th goal was still going strong when Tanguay broke
down the left side, deked Joseph to the ice with a fake and flipped in a shot
off the right post just 18 seconds later.
``We created a lot offensively,'' Granato said. ``We did a good job of
moving the puck around and creating the chances.''
But Detroit came right back, working around the perimeter on a power play
until Whitney beat Aebischer between the pads from the top of the circles.
Dandenault tied it in the second period, lifting a backhander that slipped
under Aebischer's armpit on the stick side.
``It's a credit to everyone in here,'' Joseph said. ``We battled back,
battled back. I thought we got our legs and played better as the game went
And it wouldn't be Wings-Avs if there wasn't plenty of chippiness.
Colorado's Peter Worrell started things off by chasing Steve Yzerman to
Detroit's bench before being sent to the penalty box. Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom
followed with a shoulder check that sent Peter Forsberg to the ice for another
Another collision in front of Detroit's goal led to a scrum of pushing and
And that was just the first period.
``It was an entertaining game,'' Whitney said. ``The fans got a pretty good
show out there.''
Joseph made sure of that, rebounding from the two quick goals with some
He stopped Milan Hejduk on consecutive shots on a power play in the first
period, then made a pad save on a hard shot by Rob Blake and covered the
rebound on the top of the net. In the third period, Joseph dived back across
the crease to block a shot by Konowalchuk.
``They threw a lot of things at him. Curtis was very solid,'' Detroit coach
Dave Lewis said.