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Red Wings hand Avalanche first loss

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk have made life miserable for the Colorado Avalanche throughout their NHL careers, and they continued to do so Thursday night.

Each scored two goals to give the Detroit Red Wings a 4-2 win at Pepsi Center, handing the Avalanche their first loss in seven games this season.

The Red Wings, who have won four games in a row, also got 38 saves from goalie Jonas Gustavsson. He's limited teams to five goals in a three-game winning streak while Jimmy Howard recovers from a bruised hand.

Franzen has 15 goals and eight assists in 28 games against Colorado; Datsyuk has 17 goals and 26 assists in 40 games.

" We usually play pretty good coming in here," Franzen said. "We make it hard on them and you have to slow them down as much as you can. You know, it's high altitude and you have to play smart to beat these guys. They have some great skills and some great speed and I think we did a good job with that."

Franzen scored his second power-play goal of the game at 7:10 of the third period after Avalanche right wing Alex Tanguay took a hooking penalty to give the Red Wings a 3-2 lead. Franzen, who didn't have a goal in the first seven games this season, was in the right of the slot when he one-timed Justin Abdelkader's cross-ice pass behind goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Datsyuk scored his second goal at 13:35 when he put in his rebound after Daniel Alfredsson's feed got past sliding Avalanche defensemen Andre Benoit and Erik Johnson.

"What a play by Datsyuk," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "You don't see too many guys capable of picking up a rebound like this. That was quite something."

After trailing by two goals for the first time this season, the Avalanche tied the game 2-2 with second-period power-play goals by Johnson and captain Gabriel Landeskog. They were the first goals of the season for each.

"I thought we were scrambling in the second," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Turned over too many pucks, didn't get ourselves off the ice in time. Obviously, a real good first period for us and a real good third. You've got to give [Gustavsson] credit. He could win first star three nights in a row. I thought he played great."

Roy was disappointed with the loss, his first as an NHL coach, but he was pleased with his team's effort.

"I thought our guys played hard," Roy said. "It would have been very easy for them to give up after the first [period], and we bounced back in the second period. Like I said to them, we had to expect one time to be behind. We were still in that game. We had great energy in that second period. Their goalie made some great saves and kept them in the game.

"I loved the energy that we had for the entire game. I'm telling you, if we play a lot of games like this, we're not going to lose that many."

Johnson went end-to-end to score his first goal in 58 games, since Feb. 17, 2012, against the Edmonton Oilers, after Varlamov made a save early in the second period. Johnson skated through the Detroit defense, moved into the right circle and ripped a shot that went under Gustavsson's right arm at 2:36.

Landeskog tied it after Paul Stastny won a faceoff just outside the Detroit blue line. He skated by defenseman Jonathan Ericsson into the high slot, just above the left hash marks, and fired the puck behind Gustavsson.

The Red Wings grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Franzen and Datsyuk.

Franzen moved through the goalmouth after taking a return pass from Henrik Zetterberg and muscled the puck behind Varlamov at 6:08.

"I thought Franzen made a super play there," Roy said. "He showed great hands. It was a great play by him."

The goal came on a power play after Avalanche left wing Cody McLeod was assessed a major boarding penalty and game misconduct for a hit from behind against Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

Kronwall fell to the ice, was placed on a backboard and wheeled into the Detroit locker room. The Red Wings announced he sustained a concussion and cuts on his right ear. They said he had movement and feeling in his extremities and would not be taken to a hospital.

"When a player gets injured on your team and you get a big power play you want to come through, and fortunately we did to get the lead," Alfredsson said. "That was important for us and that whole period was good. Obviously, we ended up winning the game on the power play; that was a big factor tonight."

Datsyuk was right in front of Varlamov when he converted the rebound of defenseman Danny DeKeyser at the 15-minute mark to give the Red Wings their two-goal lead.

Gustavsson made a right pad save against Matt Duchene on a semi-breakaway with 2:15 remaining in the period. Duchene said he was slashed on the hand by defenseman Jakub Kindl and thought a penalty should have been called.

"It's unfortunate we couldn't keep it going, but we played real hard," Duchene said. "They played really well, too."

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