Fans in Hockeytown can exhale now that the Detroit Red Wings
’ long losing streak is finally over.
Instead, they have to hold their breath over the health of star defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
scored twice and Chris Osgood
stopped 18 shots for his 47th career shutout as the Red Wings cruised to a 4-0 win Monday night over the Colorado Avalanche
at the Pepsi Center – but the end of their six-game skid may have come at a heavy price.
Detroit lost Lidstrom in the first period to what team spokesman John Hahn termed a sprained right knee. Lidstrom was checked hard against the boards by Colorado forward Ian Laperriere
while chasing a loose puck. He needed assistance getting off the ice, and will have his re-examined Tuesday in Detroit.
"He'll probably end up with a few days off," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't know if he's going to be out a week or 10 days."
Predictably, the two sides disagreed over the legitimacy of Laperriere’s hit, which didn’t draw a penalty call.
"The referee said it wasn't illegal," Laperriere said. "I play hard. Hopefully, he's going to be OK. I respect him a lot."
Zetterberg and Babcock saw matters a little differently.
"I think it was a little lack of respect by him," Zetterberg said. "I don't think it should have happened."
"I wasn't very impressed with what happened," Babcock added. "I watched the replay a number of times, and I didn't like the play."
Lidstrom, who came in leading all NHL defenseman with 57 points, has been durable throughout his Hall-of-Fame career. He’s missed a total of just 24 games since entering the League in the 1991-92 season.
To their credit, the Wings didn’t sag after their captain went down. Chris Chelios and Valtteri Filppula tallied first-period goals as they got off to a fast start after going 0-5-1 since an overtime victory in Minnesota on Feb. 5. Detroit extended its lead in the Western Conference to 10 points over Dallas, thanks in large part to Osgood turning his fortunes around.
"Things were going so well for four months," said Osgood, who once led the League in goals-against average but had lost his last four starts and been pulled in two straight. "I wasn't expecting that to keep up the entire season. But then I wasn't expecting it to be that bad for two games. It evens out, and tonight I got a shutout and it gets you back in the swing of things."
The ageless Chelios opened the scoring with his second goal of the season, and first since Oct. 8 against Edmonton. With Tomas Holmstrom screening Avalanche goalie Jose Theodore, Chelios wound up for a slap shot that found its mark with 7:57 left in the first.
Filppula made it 2-0 with a power-play goal just 56 seconds before the end of the period. Jiri Hudler’s pass deflected off the stick of Colorado defenseman Jeff Finger and Filppula collected the puck and scored from a sharp angle in the right corner for his 16th of the season.
Zetterberg, held scoreless for five straight games, then broke through with a pair of goals 2:16 apart in the second. Pavel Datsyuk, who finished with three assists, set up both goals.
Concurrent penalties to the Avalanche gave the Wings a long 5-on-3 that essentially became a three-man advantage after Laperriere lost his stick. Datsyuk was able to set up Zetterberg with a cross-ice pass that the Swedish winger one-timed home at 7:42.
Zetterberg then finished a 3-on-1 break at 9:58 with his team-leading 35th of the season. Defenseman Derek Meech, driving down right wing, drew the lone Colorado defender to him and Zetterberg had a wide-open net to score into after taking Datsyuk’s feed.
The Avalanche have lost four consecutive home games and four straight overall. For the second day in a row, they missed a chance to claim sole possession of seventh in the West and remained in ninth, one point out of a playoff spot.
"That was a bad performance," Andrew Brunette said. "That's four bad performances in a row at home. This was the worst of the four, by far. We are getting pushed around and have stopped pushing the puck."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.