|DET||0||0||0||(null - null)||4|
|COL||0||0||0||(null - null)||3|
DENVER (AP) - Pavel Datsyuk scored twice and Johan Franzen picked up his sixth goal of the series, putting the Red Wings on the cusp of the Western Conference Finals with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night over the ailing Avalanche, who lost another star skater when leading scorer Paul Stastny went down with a knee injury in the first period.
The Red Wings can wrap up the series with a win in Game 4 on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center. None of the five previous playoff series between the archrivals ever ended in a sweep.
The Avs have lost all seven times they played Detroit this season, including three shutouts in the regular season. To advance to the conference finals, they'll have to become the first team in 33 years to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.
They would need a historic run to join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders as the only NHL teams ever to win a series after losing the first three games.
The Avs put up a fair fight in Game 3 despite losing Stastny, but they again came up short.
Although center Peter Forsberg and defenseman Scott Hannan returned to Colorado's lineup, the banged-up Avs were without forward Ryan Smyth (foot) even before losing Stastny, their leading scorer.
Colorado has been without forward Wojtek Wolski since he suffered a torso injury that knocked him out of Game 1. Forsberg (groin) missed both games in Detroit and Hannan missed Game 2 with a foot injury.
It wasn't immediately apparent how Stastny got hurt. He was examined in the locker room during the first intermission and the team announced he was through for the night.
Andrew Brunette deflected John-Michael Liles' shot from the high slot past goaltender Chris Osgood on Colorado's first power play to cut Detroit's lead to 3-2.
Forsberg was assessed a 4-minute penalty for high-sticking Mikael Samuelsson, who lost a tooth, and Henrik Zetterberg scored on the power play to make it 4-2.
Joe Sakic fed Brunette for his second goal five minutes into the third period, pulling Colorado to 4-3 and surpassing Steve Yzerman for eighth place on the career list with his 186th playoff point.
But Osgood, who made 30 saves, made sure the lead held up.
Recovered from the flu, Jose Theodore was back in goal for Colorado and stopped 31 shots. He was pulled in each of the team's two losses in Detroit. Theodore surrendered eight goals in less than four periods in Detroit, and backup Peter Budaj stopped 19 of 20 shots in his place.
Theodore gave up two goals 58 seconds apart in the first period as Detroit erased a 1-0 deficit.
Datsyuk put the puck past Theodore's stick on the power play. Then, Franzen put the Red Wings ahead for good when he scored his eighth goal of the playoffs off a sweet cross-ice pass from Brett Lebda in front of the crease.
Colorado scored first when Cody McLeod redirected T.J. Hensick's shot from the right boards. It was McLeod's first playoff goal and Hensick's first point.
Notes: After outscoring the Avs 11-2 in the regular season, Detroit has outscored Colorado 13-7 in the playoffs. ... Of the five previous playoff meetings between the teams, the winner had gone on to win the Stanley Cup three times.
|Cody McLeod (1) ASST: TJ Hensick (1), Tyler Arnason (3)|
1 - 0 COL
|PPG - Pavel Datsyuk (4) ASST: Henrik Zetterberg (4), Nicklas Lidstrom (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Johan Franzen (8) ASST: Brett Lebda (1), Mikael Samuelsson (4)|
2 - 1 DET
|Pavel Datsyuk (5) ASST: Brian Rafalski (6), Tomas Holmstrom (4)|
3 - 1 DET
|PPG - Andrew Brunette (4) ASST: John-Michael Liles (3), Joe Sakic (5)|
3 - 2 DET
|PPG - Henrik Zetterberg (5) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (5), Mikael Samuelsson (5)|
4 - 2 DET
|PPG - Andrew Brunette (5) ASST: Joe Sakic (6), Ruslan Salei (3)|
4 - 3 DET
|Ian Laperriere Interference against Johan Franzen|
|Ian Laperriere Roughing against Brett Lebda|
|Cody McLeod Hi-sticking against Niklas Kronwall|
|Darren McCarty Holding against Ben Guite|
|Peter Forsberg Hi stick - double minor against Mikael Samuelsson|
|Peter Forsberg Interference - Goalkeeper against Chris Osgood|
|Henrik Zetterberg Interference against Ben Guite|
|TJ Hensick Too many men on the ice|
|Darren Helm Too many men on the ice|
|Darren Helm Too many men on the ice|
|Dallas Drake Hi-sticking against Jordan Leopold|
|SA: 33||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 30||EV: 25 - 26|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 7|
|SV%: .909||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 35||TOI: 59:09|
|Saves: 31||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 10 - 12|
|SV%: .886||SH: 0 - 0|