DENVER - The Red Wings did a lot of things they wanted to Wednesday in Colorado - they started on time, scored the first goal and managed to kill off penalties.
But the Avalanche scored two goals in quick succession to start the third and the Wings couldn't come back, falling 3-1 at the Pepsi Center.
Andreas Athanasiou scored for the Wings; Matt Duchene, J.T. Compher and Carl Soderberg scored for the Avalanche.
1. Special teams: Although the box score will show that the Avalanche went 0-for-4 on their power play, they still created some momentum. That momentum led to the early goals in the third period by J.T. Compher at 3:49 and Carl Soderberg at 5:44. It was the first NHL goal for Compher, who went to Michigan. The Wings only had one power play and they did not score.
Quotable: "We came out and played good hockey, played the right way. We took a few penalties in the second period and we really didn't do a good job on the PK. It seemed like even though they didn't score, they created a lot of momentum off of that and stayed on it. Not good enough the way we played in the second half." - Frans Nielsen
Quotable II: "PK did a good job killing it off. They got a little momentum from that. Then they scored two quick ones. Before they scored, we had one hit the post. If we had scored there, it would have been a little different, I think. But lately when teams score one, they score right away. That's hard to come back then when you're down two." - Henrik Zetterberg
2. Jimmy Howard : Howard was making his second NHL start since returning from a knee injury suffered Dec. 20 in Tampa. Howard made 26 saves, including one on Gabriel Landeskog, who was awarded a penalty shot when defenseman Robbie Russo pulled him down at 11:58 of the third.
Quotable: "The second one the guy just walked down the middle of the slot and made a nice shot. The third goal, a little bit of misread on the guy's hands on my part. I thought he was right-handed when I glanced real quick. I lined up on the body and not on the stick so it's on me." - Howard
Quotable II: "I thought Jimmy played great. I thought he made some unreal saves, especially on their power play. A couple back doors, way too many back doors. I thought the puck stuck to him, I thought he looked great." - Wings coach Jeff Blashill
3. Andreas Athanasiou: Athanasiou got a breakaway at 5:09 of the first period and did what he usually does on a breakaway - score. Athanasiou put the puck past goaltender Calvin Pickard at the left side of the net for his 16th goal of the season. Athanasiou trails only Tomas Tatar for the team lead in goals as Tatar has 17. Justin Abdelkader and Dylan Larkin assisted on the goal.
Quotable: "Just specific to tonight, I certainly saw some chances. I thought we passed up some shots and I thought we didn't hit the net when we had opportunities to. We still got to do a better job of having a short-first mentality and we need more guys to score that aren't on Zetterberg's line. That's just the way it is. Other guys have to produce a little more. Obviously, AA had the one goal tonight, but on a consistent basis, we need more lines scoring." - Blashill