DENVER — Johan Franzen scored two goals, including the tiebreaker with 12:50 remaining, and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 38 shots, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over Colorado on Thursday night to snap the Avalanche’s six-game winning streak under new coach Patrick Roy.
Pavel Datsyuk also had two goals and Daniel Alfredsson added three assists for the Red Wings, who lost defenseman Niklas Kronwall early in the first period when he was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being rammed into the boards by Cody McLeod.
Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche as they finished a win short of matching the franchise record for best start (7-0) set by the 1985-86 Quebec Nordiques.
Gustavsson bottled up Colorado’s potent offense most of the game.
Even when the Avalanche pulled Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with more than 1 minute remaining, they couldn’t sneak anything past Gustavsson.
Franzen’s game-winner came on a power play when he took a pass from Justin Abdelkader and lined a shot over Varlamov’s shoulder. Franzen also scored in the first period — his first two goals of the season.
Datsyuk sealed the game when he scored off his own rebound 13:35 into the final period.
Varlamov had a rough night against the rival Red Wings, allowing four goals. He had allowed just six in five starts entering the game.
Landeskog and Johnson scored in the second period to tie the game at 2. Johnson took the puck from behind his net, skated up the ice with little interference and lined a shot over Gustavsson’s right shoulder. It was Johnson’s first goal since Feb. 17, 2012.
The opening period was dominated by a fired-up Detroit team following a vicious hit on Kronwall along the boards. The hit sent his helmet flying as he crashed to the ice. The Red Wings later announced on their Twitter account that Kronwall “has a concussion; cuts to the ear but he’s moving all extremities, being treating in locker room.”
McLeod received a 5-minute penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. Detroit turned the power play into a goal when Franzen slipped in front of the net and slapped a shot past Varlamov 6:08 in the period. It was his first goal of the season.
Datsyuk gave the Red Wings a two-goal advantage when he later put in a rebound.
Gustavsson preserved that first-period advantage, stopping a breakaway by Matt Duchene with his right pad.
The rivalry between Colorado and Detroit used to be a bitter and bloody one in Roy’s playing days, but it’s tapered off a bit, in large part due to the slide of the Avalanche, who have missed the playoffs the past three seasons.
Can this rivalry get heated again?
After all, the two teams meet just twice this season as the Red Wings switched over to the Eastern Conference.
“We don’t look at ourselves in their position right now,” Roy said. “We have to regain that, the respect of other teams. We’re a long way before we’re getting to where the Red Wings are. It’s amazing what they’ve been doing over the years. They’ve been there (playoffs) every year.”
NOTES: Gustavsson made his third straight start with Jimmy Howard bothered by a sore hand. ... The game got a little rough in the second period, when Red Wings F Drew Miller and Avs D Cory Sarich dropped the gloves and squared off near center ice. ... Varlamov had an assist on Johnson’s goal.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.