DETROIT - Brendan Shanahan, Patrick Roy, Darren McCarty, Claude Lemieux and the rest of the main combatants in the Detroit-Colorado rivalry have all retired but that doesn't mean it isn't fun to beat the Avalanche.
The Red Wings exploded for four goals in the third period to defeat the Avalanche, 5-1, in Colorado's last visit to Joe Louis Arena Saturday afternoon.
The only bad thing was losing Darren Helm to a lower-body injury in the second period.
Wings coach Jeff Blashill said Helm is day-to-day, as is Mitch Callahan, who missed the entire game.
1. Tomas Tatar : Tatar had a slow start to the season in terms of scoring but has come on of late. Tatar scored two goals to reach the 20-goal mark for the third straight season. The first came on a special individual effort by Luke Glendening, who was able to get around Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson to pass the puck to Tatar in the left circle at 5:20. The second Tatar had a beautiful shot, also from the left circle, to beat goaltender Calvin Pickard just 1:36 after his first goal. Tatar has six goals in his last nine games and eight in his last 13.
Quotable: "That was just an unbelievable effort by Luke. I kind of read it like it might bounce but just the effort he did was outstanding. For me, it was just an easy job to put it in the net." - Tatar on his first goal
Quotable II: "I thought earlier in the year he was playing good. He just wasn't scoring. It wasn't from a lack of chances. Somebody told me he led the league in posts hit in the first part of the year. I don't think his play has been a whole lot different. I just think now they're going in and that happens sometimes with guys. Obviously that's a good line with Zetterberg and (Gustav) Nyquist. They've been real good together." - Blashill
2. Dylan Larkin/Justin Abdelkader: There wasn't a whole lot of offense going either way early on. So when the Wings got their second power-play opportunity, they quickly took advantage. Fedor Tyutin was in the box for holding and Justin Abdelkader took Henrik Zetterberg's pass in the slot and shot the puck past Pickard stick-side at 16:43 of the second. Niklas Kronwall had the second assist. It was Abdelkader's first goal since Feb. 28 at Vancouver. Larkin scored Detroit's second power-play goal at 12:44 of the third, a shot from the right circle. Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou picked up the assists on Larkin's 15th of the season. Larkin has two goals and two assists in his last three games.
Quotable: "It's awesome. That video they played at the end during the last TV timeout, it was really cool. It got the fans fired up. I wished they played it a little earlier in the game, maybe in the first but I definitely got the chills watching it. Just to be a part of the rivalry is pretty cool and to play here in their last game at the Joe and get a convincing win. It feels good." - Larkin
3. Jimmy Howard : After getting in early Friday morning from Arizona and then having to play a 1 p.m. game Saturday, the Wings took a little while to really get going. Howard made sure to keep his team in it, making some strong saves on Mikko Rantanen, Tyson Barrie and Sven Andrighetto. Only Barrie's shot from the point that deflected off of Nathan McKinnon's skate at 3:44 of the third eluded Howard, who finished with 23 saves.
Quotable: "He's played really good. It's hard to be out that long. It's hard to predict that a guy is going to come back and play as good as he has. He's certainly put the work in to be ready. He kind of looks like he did before he left. Before he got hurt, the puck was sticking to him, he was real sound from a technical standpoint and he's not letting any easy ones in. Between him and Petr (Mrazek) both guys are playing real good." - Blashill
Quotable II: "I'm just trying to be patient, calm, not try and overdo anything. Basically just try and play the way I was playing before I got injured." - Howard