DENVER -- After the excitement around the alumni game, it was a tough act to follow for the current Wings and Avalanche in the Stadium Series game.
Jonathan Ericsson returned after missing six games with a lower-body injury to play in his first NHL outdoor game. He was paired with Mike Green.
Teemu Pulkkinen and Brendan Smith were healthy scratches for the Wings.
Petr Mrazek got the start in goal for Detroit while Semyon Varlamov started for Colorado.
The official temperature at puck drop was 65 degrees.
Neither team held a morning skate and the skies got very cloudy shortly after noon so it gave the ice crew plenty of time to make sure the ice was optimal for the 6 p.m. PST start.
The Avalanche came out firing, out-shooting the Wings early.
Mrazek had to make several good saves, including one on Mikhail Grigorenko at 3:12.
Tomas Tatar opened the scoring at 5:07 with his 17th goal of the season, cleaning up his own rebound after a wraparound attempt.
It was Tatar's first point in nine games.
Originally, Gustav Nyquist was awarded the only assist but it was taken away during intermission, making Tatar's goal unassisted.
At 7:44, Nathan MacKinnon tied the game on a shot from the left circle that beat Mrazek. Gabriel Landeskog assisted.
The Wings got the first power play of the game when Andrew Bodnarchuk was called for high-sticking at 10:17 but were unable to capitalize.
At 14:38, Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie got a nice pass from Blake Comeau and made a fake to get Mrazek to commit and then scored. Grigorenko got the second assist.
The Wings elected to challenge the goal, citing goaltender interference but the officials ruled that it was a good goal.
Here's the explanation from the league:
At 14:38 of the first period in the Red Wings/Avalanche game, Detroit requested a Coach's Challenge to review whether Carl Soderberg interfered with goaltender Petr Mrazek before the puck crossed the goal line.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.
Therefore the original call stands – good goal Colorado Avalanche.
Since the Coach’s Challenge did not result in the original call being overturned, the Detroit Red Wings forfeit their time-out.
The Wings had a four-minute man-advantage at 14:49 when Cody McLeod was called for high-sticking. They had four shots but could not score.
Kyle Quincey was the one who was hit with the stick and had to go to the dressing room via the third-base dugout.
AVALANCHE 2, RED WINGS 1
SCORING: 1. DET, Tatar (unassisted), 5:07; 2. COL, MacKinnon (Landeskog), 7:44.
PENALTIES: 1. COL, Bodnarchuk (high-sticking), 10:17; 2. COL, McLeod, double minor (high-sticking), 14:49; 3. DET, Datsyuk (roughing), 18:54; 4. COL, Landeskog (holding the stick), 18:54.
SHOTS: Detroit 11, Colorado 14.
The scoring crew made one change after the first period, taking away Nyquist's assist on Tatar's first-period goal.
Quincey, who left the game after being high0sticked by McLeod in the first period, returned.
NBC Sports reported that Quincey had to have four stitches to repair the damage.
Danny DeKeyser was called for high-sticking at 4:01, giving the Avalanche their first power play.
The Wings killed it off.
Henrik Zetterberg had a good chance from the low slot that Varlamov stopped at 6:29.
The Wings had a chance when Chris Bigras was called for holding Luke Glendening at 10:14 but the Avalanche killed it off.
The Avalanche headed back to the power play when the Wings were called for too many men on the ice, which was served by Andreas Athanasiou.
The Wings lead the league with 11 penalties for too many men.
AVALANCHE 2, RED WINGS 1
PENALTIES: 1. DET, DeKeyser (high-sticking), 4:01; 2. COL, Bigras (holding), 10:14; 3. DET, bench, too many men, served by Andreas Athanasiou, 13:20.
SHOTS: Detroit 4 (15), Colorado 4 (18).
Before the game, general manager Ken Holland mentioned that the Wings had some players who were proven scorers in the league who have not scored as much as they would have liked.
One of those players is Gustav Nyquist, who came into the Stadium Series on an 11-game goal-less streak.
That changed at 1:27 of the third when he backhanded the puck over Varlamov's left shoulder from the right circle.
Riley Sheahan and Tatar got the assists.
The Wings took the lead at 13:28 when Justin Abdelkader scored from right in front on the right side. Darren Helm and Luke Glendening assisted.
But the Avalanche tied it 14 seconds later on Alex Tanguay's goal.
With one minute exactly left in the third, Brad Richards popped the puck in from behind the net.
Niklas Kronwall assisted.
Darren Helm capped it off with an empty net goal with 19.3 seconds left.
RED WINGS 5, AVALANCHE 3
Scoring: 1. DET, Gustav Nyquist (15), Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, 1:27. 2. DET, Justin Abdelkader (15), Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, 13:28. 3. COL, Alex Tanguay (4), Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, 13:42. 4. DET, Brad Richards (7), Niklas Kronwall, 19:00. 5. DET, ENG, Darren Helm (8), Petr Mrazek, Niklas Kronwall, 19:40.
Penalties: 1. COL, minor, Blake Comeau, tripping, 8:22. 2. DET, minor, Mike Green, tripping, 14:39.
Shots: Detroit 13 (28), Colorado 9 (27).