Denver — The Red Wings won a game Thursday, but are feeling more fortunate today they didn’t lose a major player, Niklas Kronwall, to a serious injury.
Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals, leading the Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Avalanche.
Franzen’s second power-play goal, his second goal this season, broke a 2-2 tie at 7 minutes,10 seconds of the third period, then Datsyuk converted a feed from Daniel Alfredsson at 13:35 to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead.
The victory stretched the Red Wings winning streak to four games, while ending the Avalanche’s six-game winning streak.
“We’re happy with the win,” Datsyuk said. “It’s a young team and they skate really fast. They had chances. But our goalie (Jonas Gustavsson) had another outstanding game.”
Gustavsson had 38 saves while winning his third consecutive start this week with Jimmy Howard out with a bruised left hand.
“Gus could have been the first start three straight games,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
But the victory was marred by an injury to Kronwall early in the game.
Kronwall left the game at 2:13 of the first period on a stretcher, the team later announcing he had a concussion and cuts near his ear.
Kronwall was skating back to retrieve a puck when Avalanche forward Cody McLeod checked him into the boards, Kronwall’s head hitting the area between the glass and dasherboards.
“Everybody on the bench couldn’t breathe, thinking different thoughts,” Datsyuk said.
The Red Wings twitter feed and the Colorado press box both announced Kronwall had a concussion and was being treated for cuts near his ear in the locker room.
“He’ll be evaluated, but obviously it’s a tough situation anytime you’re out cold,” Babcock said. “When you see that and get knocked out cold, you’re scared, to say the least. Those hits, we have to get out of the game.”
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland wouldn’t commit to saying Kronwall had a concussion until seeing how the defenseman felt today.
“That word (concussion) to me, I think tomorrow we’ve got to see how he feels,” Holland said. “He talked to the doctor. He’s alert. He’s in the building. Let’s get to tomorrow (Friday) morning, let’s see how he’s doing.
“He obviously hit his head. Let’s get to tomorrow morning. The media is anxious to (know), he’s obviously not coming back to the game (he didn’t).
“He hasn’t gone to the hospital. I went down to the locker room, he was talking to the doctor. He was being evaluated. He was going through the sequence of events.”
Kronwall never went to the hospital and Holland expected him to travel with the team to Phoenix after the game.
“He seemed fine,” said Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall’s defensive partner. “It was scary. He was out. He didn’t know what happened. You could see he was just out of it for a little bit. But we found our pretty early he was fine and was going to recover.”
McLeod received a game misconduct and boarding major on the play and was thrown out of the game. A disciplinary hearing with the NHL is a certainty.
Erik Johnson (power play) and Gabriel Landeskog (power play) had Avs goals.
For Franzen, he now has 33 points (24 goals, nine assists) in 32 regular-season and playoff games against Colorado.
“Just good memories coming in here,” said Franzen.