Trending: Red Wings give solid effort in 2-1 loss to Avalanche
Mantha scores Detroit's lone goal; Bernier again sharp in netby Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com
DETROIT -- It was '90s night at Little Caesars Arena on Monday and based on the spirited contest played between the Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche, the game was a throwback to the days when the Wings-Avalanche rivalry was the must-see sporting event of the 1990s.
From the opening face-off, the teams were taking it to each other with bodies tumbling all over the ice, which fired up the very supportive Wings crowd.
Each team had numerous high-quality scoring chances, but in the end, the Avalanche squeaked by the Wings, 2-1.
The victory was Colorado's sixth straight over Detroit, as it swept the two-game season series.
The Avalanche extended their franchise-best consecutive road winning streak to nine games and their overall winning streak to seven games.
Anthony Mantha, who was dangerous all night, scored the Red Wings' only goal, while Vladislav Namestnikov and Logan O'Connor were Colorado's goal scorers.
Jonathan Bernier (13-21-3), took the loss in the net for the Wings, stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced for a .926 save percentage.
Michael Hutchinson (5-9-1) picked up the victory in goal, making 17 saves out the 18 shots the Wings fired for a .944 save percentage.
Detroit (15-48-5) will next face its old Original Six foe, the Chicago Blackhawks, Friday night at Little Caesars Arena in the second game of the Wings' current four-game homestand.
Colorado (40-18-7) will see its next action on Wednesday, playing host to the Anaheim Ducks.
1. Anthony Mantha: Had Mantha been healthy all season, he would have been the runaway leader in goals for the Red Wings this season. Unfortunately, the big forward has been limited to just 40 games this season because of two long-term injuries. At 5:48 of the first period, Dylan Larkin had a good shot but Hutchinson made the save. Mantha was there at the net front to put home the rebound for his 15th goal of the season. Only Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi have more goals for Detroit, with 18 apiece. Alex Biega got the second assist. Mantha now has nine points (3-6-9) in the 11 games since he returned from missing 20 games with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Mantha has scored 15 goals in just 40 games, his fastest to that mark. Mantha finished with 22 shifts for 22:24, had six shots, two hits, was 1-for-2 in face-offs and was plus-1.
Quotable: "I wish I could get a couple of those chances back. End of second, I had that one-timer right in the slot, but I am feeling better and better. I knew it was gonna take a couple games but hopefully it's here until the end of the season." - Mantha
Quotable II: "He's always dangerous. He's our most dangerous player. He's got a long stick and he plays. We've talked about it before. When he's moving his feet, he's even more dangerous. He can really skate for how big he is. I noticed that the past couple of games here. It's tough with the injuries he's had and the time he's missed to really find footing here in the second half of the season. But I think he's starting to hit his stride here and rightfully so. It's taken a little bit since coming back from injury but I think he's gonna end on a good note and be ready to go next year." - Larkin
Quotable III: "I think confidence. I think he had a strong finish to the year last year in the sense that he had a great world championships and I think that walked him right into the start that he had this year. 'Til he got hurt, he was excellent. Then he got hurt, then he got hurt again right away and just never kind of made his way back. So I think it's really important that he finishes strong and he continues to take steps in the right direction as a player. There's a lot of pressure on those guys that we're wanting to become go-to, elite-type players. I think Larks has dealt with that since day one, kind of, and Mantha's dealing with that as we go and that just means you gotta be great every night. Part of that is confidence and stepping on the ice and believing you're better than the guy you're going up against next. I think Mantha, if he can have a good finish, it can help him that way." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
2. Dylan Larkin: Larkin is far too young to remember the '90s Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry but he certainly played Monday like he would have liked to be part of it. Playing with Bertuzzi and Mantha, Larkin led the way for the team's offensive and defensive attack, often matched up against Colorado's top line of Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Namestnikov. With his assist on Mantha's goal, Larkin now has points in six of his last seven games, recording nine points (3-6-9) in that span. Larkin finished with 23 shifts for 24:43, the most ice time among all forwards, had three shots, two hits, one giveaway, one takeaway, one blocked shot, was 15-of-21 in face-offs and was even.
Quotable: "I liked our compete. I liked the way we stuck together. I liked the way we battled. It's a fun game to play in when we're playing against a team like that. We played well defensively. Bernie handled everything in front of him, made some big saves early. It's a close game and we feel it could've went either way, so I liked the way we battled to the end there. We just gotta find a way to generate more shots still and make it harder on a goalie over there. I felt the energy right from the start. Every time Colorado comes in here it's a great energy. You've got to give the fans credit. They've been showing up and been great for us, especially the past little while here. The building's full, they have energy. We fed off that and we were ready to play. That's something we have to build off of and we talked about it in here after the game. If we play like that down the stretch here, we're gonna have a lot of fun and we're gonna win some games and we're gonna be a closer group because of it. We were battling for each other. There was a lot of talk on the ice. I thought we played pretty solid." - Larkin
Quotable II: "I think we played good. Obviously didn't give them opportunities to score. We played a solid second and third period. We were in their zone and we had a lot of Grade A chances. Keep shooting and getting those rebounds back. Like I said, we played good hockey. It's just a matter of time before they go in." - Mantha
Quotable III: "I was told after the second that (Mantha) was involved in most of our chances. That's what it looked like. I would say his centerman was excellent tonight, too. I thought Larkin was excellent. I challenged that line to go against the MacKinnon line for a lot of the night. They didn't go against them exclusively, but for a lot of the night. I thought that line did a good job and I thought Larks was excellent, too. Anytime your centerman plays like that it's going to give a boost to a guy who can really shoot and create offense like Mo can." - Blashill
3. Dmytro Timashov : It's highly unusual for a player to play two games with a team before ever practicing but that's the situation that Dmytro Timashov found himself in Monday night. The Wings claimed Timashov on waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs last Monday during trade deadline day. Because Timashov is from Ukraine but had a Swedish passport from playing several years there, he needed a new visa to play for the Wings in the United States. Because his previous visa allowed for him to play in Canada, he was able to join the team in Ottawa and play there Saturday night. Playing mostly with Frans Nielsen and Justin Abdelkader, Timashov finished with 15 shifts for 12:39, had two hits, one giveaway and was even.
Quotable: "I had to fix my visa obviously. I couldn't practice with the team. But it's fun to join the team now and be able to practice and do it like 100 percent. I've been skating and working out in the gym in Toronto. I've been doing those stuff but you want to join the team as soon as you can and get to know the guys and practice with them. But now I'm here, so I'm just doing the best of the situation. (Steve) Yzerman called me and said welcome to the team. Larkin texted me and Justin Abdelkader, he also texted me. That was nice of them. I felt welcome right away." - Timashov
Quotable II: "He's a solid body. He's got great puck skills, great hands. He's just trying to find his footing. He hasn't played much, especially taking a week off after we picked him up. He's just trying to get going. He hasn't been here for a practice yet because of his visa. For him to step in and come into a locker room two times in a row right before a game - I know he flew in from Toronto today. I can't even imagine how tough that is, not only once but twice back to back. He's done a great job. I'm excited to see what he can do with more opportunity here." - Larkin
Quotable III: "He's playing pretty good. He's winning his battles, he's trying to be physical for how big he is. He brings a different aspect I think. He has a little confidence going for him, so hopefully he could spread that around the dressing room." - Mantha
Quotable IV: "For a guy we're projecting to help our depth in the bottom six, he does have good offensive sense a bit. He's got good hands. I think he could potentially helps us in those areas as long as he stays real accountable defensively and keeps up his physical play. He's got the ability to be physical and I think if he can keep that up and be accountable defensively, he's a guy that you could move up and down the lineup and get into different roles. I'd like to get him into a practice, so it'll be good Wednesday and Thursday for a couple of practices into Friday's game." - Blashill