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Stadium Series

10 Stadium Series moments to remember

Salute to alumni, Nyquist goal among weekend highlights

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

The Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche ended up splitting a pair of unique weekend rivalry games. Only one of them mattered, but try telling that to the 93,414 fans who walked through the gates of Coors Field on Friday and Saturday.

Former Avalanche Stanley Cup champions from 1996 and 2001 wowed the crowd of 43,319 Friday night in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game with a 5-2 win against their former hated rivals from Detroit. 

The current Red Wings got their revenge, and two important points, with a 5-3 win against the current Avalanche in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game in front of 50,095 on Saturday. 

The weekend, featuring the rekindling of an old rivalry and an important regular-season game between Stanley Cup Playoff contenders from opposing conferences, featured several moments that will live in the minds of the fans, players, coaches and employees from Colorado and Detroit. 

Here are 10 that stand out, listed in chronological order: 

Video: Stadium Series Alumni Game: Players salute fans

1. Alumni introductions 

From boos to cheers to salutes, the player introductions for the Alumni Game were fantastic. They were as much of a reason the fans filled Coors Field for an exhibition game. It was also a chance for the players to relive a time that featured one of the greatest rivalries in sports. 

Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios booed along with the fans booing him when he was introduced. 

Detroit forward Darren McCarty gave the "Mile High Salute" as he was introduced to a chorus of boos. 

"That was my way of saying thanks for the boos," McCarty said. 

Enough Red Wings fans drowned out the Avalanche fans to cheer on Hall of Famer members Steve Yzerman and Nicklas Lidstrom. 

On the other blue line, the last four players introduced received the loudest applause: Patrick Roy, Adam Foote, Ray Bourque and Joe Sakic. The cheer for Peter Forsberg was long enough that he had time to turn around and look all around as he waved to the crowd. You couldn't even hear the public address announcer say Claude Lemieux when he was getting introduced. 

2. Good to see you again 

We see Sakic and Yzerman in suits now; Sakic as the general manager of the Avalanche and Yzerman as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. We remember them as Hall of Fame players who were centerpieces in the great Colorado-Detroit rivalry. 

They allowed everyone to have a piece of the past by trading goals in the first period of the Alumni Game. 

Yzerman struck first when he cashed in the rebound of Brendan Shanahan's shot in the first period. Yzerman set up Shanahan for the shot with a drop pass off the rush. As he no doubt tells his players in Tampa Bay to do, he then went to the net and found the rebound to beat Roy. 

Sakic answered a little while later to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. He went down the left side, through the circle, untouched before shooting a high and hard wrist shot short-side shot that beat Ty Conklin on the blocker side. 

Just a couple of No. 19s doing what they used to do best. 

3. Legendary video tribute 

There had to be a few tears shed Friday when shortly before a faceoff late in the third period, the scoreboard at Coors Field started playing an extended video tribute to the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry set to the Foo Fighters' "Times Like These." 

Indelible images of the biggest moments of what was a great rivalry flashed across the screen, celebrations and goals and saves and hits and, well, everything. The video had it all. The players looked up and watched. The fans cheered to it. 

The video ended with the words, "Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the rivalry. Thanks for playing for us one last time." It was followed by an extended standing ovation from the 43,319 in attendance. The players saluted the crowd by raising their sticks in appreciation. 

"It was really a special moment for us all," Yzerman said. "It's been a pretty good rivalry and the chants with the fans, everybody in unison, that's never happened before." 

Video: The Avs/Wings rivalry is full of memories

4. A scene for a ceasefire 

The Red Wings and Avalanche alumni created a moment at the end of their game that not long ago would never have happened, could never have happened. 

Mingling together, the players, a mixture of red and white and burgundy and blue, posted for a picture on the ice, almost arm in arm, initiating an unofficial ceasefire to what was one of the great rivalries in the history of the NHL and, really, all of sports. 

Could you imagine Lemieux and Kris Draper posing for a picture together, smiling for the cameras, 14 years ago, when the Red Wings and Avalanche met in the playoffs for the fifth time in a seven-year span? Not a chance. 

As pleasant as they are, it wouldn't have happened between Sakic and Yzerman, or Rob Blake and Lidstrom either. But it did after the game Friday, a game that was more of a celebration of the gift this rivalry was for hockey fans everywhere from 1996-2002. 

5. MacKinnon's shot 

Pick your choice of hockey lingo and it will work to describe Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon's goal at 7:44 of the first period Saturday. 

Snipe. Bardown. High glove. Top shelf where momma hides the cookies. They all work because the shot was that good, that impressive. 

MacKinnon cleared the puck from behind the net up the left wing wall and followed it. Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog had a good chip at the wall over Red Wings defenseman Alexey Marchenko, and MacKinnon caught up to the puck in stride and with speed. 

MacKinnon carried it into the zone, to the top of the left circle, and that's where the magic happened; he quickly unleashed a high, hard wrist shot to the far side that sailed over goalie Petr Mrazek's glove. 

"That was a good shot," Mrazek said. "I could probably have it. I was a little upset with myself that I let that go." 

Video: DET@COL: MacKinnon unleashes top-shelf goal on rush

6. Datsyuk's roughing minor 

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is a four-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy. He entered Saturday with 220 penalty minutes in 933 NHL games, including 20 in 154 games since the start of the 2013-14 season. 

But Landeskog certainly got the cerebral and tame Datsyuk all riled up late in the first period because Datsyuk tried to wrestle him to the ice. In the process, he picked up his first roughing minor since a Stanley Cup Playoff game against the San Jose Sharks on May 10, 2011. 

Landeskog had a hold of Datsyuk's stick, which frustrated the veteran center. They each went to the penalty box, with Landeskog going for the obvious, holding the stick, at 18:54 of the first period. 

It was a rare moment of feistiness from one of the best finesse players in the League. 

"Pavel can throw things around sometimes too," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "I don't know who threw the first one, but I think it was a pretty even result." 

7. Nyquist's blind backhanded beauty 

Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist broke his 11-game goal drought in a pretty way. Nyquist tied the game at 2-2 with 18:33 remaining by using a no-look backhand shot from the lower right circle to beat Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov.  

The Avalanche turned over the puck in the corner, and it hit Detroit forward Riley Sheahan before landing on Nyquist's stick. His shot beat Varlamov over the goalie's left shoulder and past his head into the top right corner. 

"I think everyone was kind of scratching their head and looking at how that went in," Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader said. "Even the ref; I think had a delayed reaction and didn't realize it went in. Just a great heads up play and a great shot. It fooled Varlamov." 

Video: DET@COL: Nyquist backhands no-look shot to tie game

8. The windy city

Because the weather in Denver was downright balmy (65 degrees Fahrenheit at puck drop Saturday) the NHL didn't get lucky with any of the snow this region is known for. 

But because of gusting winds in the second period, the white cotton that gave the field a wintry look started to swirl. 

Some of it blew into the stands. Fortunately, not a lot of it came onto the ice. 

"We didn't think it'd be snowing in the 50s," Mrazek said. 

But it didn't really matter. The wind forced the NHL to institute a hard whistle at the 10-minute mark of the third period, signaling the teams to change sides, but the swirling cotton never forced any significant delay in the game. All it did was create a unique snow globe effect. 

"The wind was swirling so much that it never even got to the ice," Richards said. 

Video: DET@COL: Wind swirls to send fake snow into stands

9. Fourteen seconds of fury 

The Red Wings were feeling good, in a celebratory mood, after Abdelkader's redirection goal at 13:28 of the third period gave them a 3-2 lead. But before the goal could be announced, the Avalanche responded. 

Fourteen seconds later, Colorado's Alex Tanguay scored the tying goal, taking a pretty backhanded feed from Landeskog and one-timing it past Mrazek. 

The cheers from the large number of Red Wings' fans in the stadium were quickly drowned out by a roar from the home crowd. Those two goals in 14 seconds also set up the fantastic finish. 

10. Richards' winner 

Video: DET@COL: Richards puts Red Wings on top late in 3rd

Red Wings forward Brad Richards insists that he wasn't shooting the puck, just trying whatever he could to get it closer to the net. He did enough to score the game-winning goal with 1:00 remaining in the third period. 

Niklas Kronwall's shot from the point went on net, but Varlamov left a rebound that came to Richards, who was coming in from the left side. Richards chipped the puck up, off and over Varlamov, who reached back to no avail and watched it cross the goal line. 

It was Richards' second career game-winning goal in an outdoor game. He also scored the winner in the New York Rangers' 3-2 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park. 

"Huge goal," Mrazek said. "Great experience." 

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