Avs Head Into All-Star Break With 3-1 Victory Over Detroit
DENVER (AP) - Peter Budaj kept Colorado in it with 27 saves and Andrew Brunette scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, helping the Avalanche end a seven-game losing streak against the Detroit Red Wings with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
Ian Laperriere scored his first goal in 36 games in the first period and Joe Sakic added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds to give Colorado its sixth win in nine games. The Avalanche put plenty of pressure on Detroit goalie Joey MacDonald, firing 31 shots at the rookie for just their fourth win in 17 games against Detroit.
Valtteri Pilppula scored the only goal for the Red Wings, who have followed a five-game winnning streak with losses to Columbus and Colorado on consecutive nights.
MacDonald was called up on Friday after Chris Osgood, Dominik Hasek's backup, came down with the flu and the rookie looked a bit like the Dominator in his fourth career start, flipping and flopping around the crease for 29 saves.
MacDonald made some tough saves during a Colorado power play midway through the third, but a shot by Brett Clark from the left faceoff dot popped in the air and Paul Stastny made a nice play to poke it to Brunette, who punched it in for his 17th of the season.
Budaj, making his 11th straight start, made some big saves early after Colorado came out flat and had spectacular stops throughout, including one while doing the splits to get a skate on a close-range shot from Niklas Lidstrom late in the first period.
These two rivals played the first game in Denver after the Avalanche moved from Quebec in 1995, so it was fitting they were on the ice again for the 500th sellout in Colorado history.
The rivalry has lost some of its luster in recent years, but the milestone seemed to liven the crowd up a bit.
It didn't help Colorado early. The Avalanche got off to a sluggish start, spending most of the first five minutes in their own zone, before turning it on with a flurry of shots in a two-minute span midway through the first.
Laperriere broke through at 10:15 of the first, flipping a shot past MacDonald from his knees for his second goal of the season - first since Oct. 29 against Minnesota. MacDonald stopped the initial shot from Karlis Skrastins, got his stick on Laperriere's diving attempt on the rebound, but ended up on his back, giving Laperriere enough room to lift the puck over his stick.
Filppula tied it late in the first thanks to a turnover by Clark.
Trying to connect with Sakic on a long pass out of the zone, Clark instead put the puck on the tape of Jason Williams, who skated into Colorado's zone and fired a shot from near the blue line. Budaj got that shot and the rebound attempt by Johan Franzen, but the puck trickled through to the crease for an easy putaway for Filppula's fifth of the year.