DETROIT (AP) - Damien Brunner ended his 15-game scoring drought and Jimmy Howard made a late save to help the Detroit Red Wings hold off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Monday night.
Justin Abdelkader scored late in the first period, Danny Cleary put Detroit ahead by two at 6:28 of the second and Brunner had a one-timer a few minutes later.
Colorado avoided a shutout with a power-play goal at 14:08 of the third period when Jamie McGinn's backhander from between the circles sailed over a sprawling Howard. The Red Wings goalie was down on the ice and couldn't get up to make the save because several of his teammates were tangled up with the Avs’ Cody McLeod in front of the net.
Colorado pulled goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere with less than two minutes to go, and Matt Duchene scored with the extra skater on the ice to make it 3-2 game with 1:18 left. Duchene’s 14th tally of the year came after he grabbed the puck in mid-air on a failed clear attempt by Detroit, dropped it to the ice, and made his way through the slot where he beat Howard with a backhand shot.
However that would be as close as the Avalanche would get. Colorado hade a chance to force overtime late, but Howard made a glove save on a PA Parenteau shot with 7 seconds left to secure the victory for the Red Wings.
Howard finished with 22 saves for Detroit, which had lost two straight.
Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov, coming off a 1-0 shutout win over Nashville, gave up two goals on four shots in the pivotal second period. He finished with 10 saves before being pulled in the middle stanza for Giguere, who stopped all seven pucks he faced.
Abdelkader hit a hip-high rebound out of the air and into the net to put the Red Wings up 1-0 with 4:03 left in the first period. It was his seventh point in eight games.
At 6:28 of the second period, Cleary scored on a power play from the front of the crease after he received a behind-the-net pass from Johan Franzen, who also had an assist on the first goal.
Brunner made it 3-0 with his 11th goal of the season at 9:54 of the second period. The 27-year-old, a first-year player, is too old to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, but he has been a key player for the rebuilding Red Wings.
Colorado will play in Nashville on Tuesday night before returning home to close out the season series against Detroit on Friday at Pepsi Center.
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