Avs goalie gives Wings fits in shootout loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Hockey is the one sport where one team seemingly dominates on the ice, yet can find a way to lose on the scoreboard.

That’s what happened Friday to the Red Wings, who were generally speaking the better team — but because of Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov, wound up losing 3-2 in a shootout.

Varlamov stopped 43 shots through regulation time and overtime and stopped three of four Red Wings shooters — Pavel Datsyuk was the lone goal-scorer — in the shootout.

BOX SCORE: Avalanche 3, Red Wings 2 (SO)

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Blake Comeau scored the shootout against Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, who stopped 19 shots before the shootout in a relatively quiet evening.

The Red Wings (28-18-9, 65 points) saw their three-game win streak end in frustrating fashion.

“It’s tough but that’s how it goes sometimes,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “We did a lot of good things out there. We had some good chances, made some good saves. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way to get the win.”

The Red Wings had to kill a Colorado power play in overtime when Tomas Tatar was called hooking Matt Duchene at 3 minutes, 28 seconds.
But Mrazek made two nice stops on Jarome Iginla drives to get the game into a shootout.

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Jonathan Ericsson and Datsyuk (power play) scored for the Red Wings in regulation, while Duchene and Comeau answered for the Avalanche.

“We were excellent in a lot of ways,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “The puck just didn’t go in as much as we would have liked it to.”

Datsyuk tied the game 2-2 in the third period with his ninth goal of the season.

Mike Green made a great play keeping the puck in the zone before getting it to Abdelkader, who found Datsyuk driving to the net at 9:51.

“Sometimes guys have to make plays and he made a play there,” said Blashill of Green’s batting the puck out of mid-air to maintain possession. “Offensive players have to do that in order for you be successful at time, and he certainly did it there.”

Comeau had given the Avalanche a brief 2-1 lead early in the third period.

After the Red Wings had done everything but score against Varlamov early in the period, the Avalanche answered in their end.

Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie found Comeau skating into the slot, and Comeau snapped a shot that Mrazek was screened on.

The puck squirted through Mrazek’s legs and bounced off his pad before going into the net.

Both Avalanche goals were scored on plays where the goal-scorer had just come off the bench and jumped into the play.

“They’re a little tougher because you don’t know where (the player off the bench) they are,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “At least one of them (Comeau) was a one-time shot, too. It’s tougher for Petr to see those pucks.

“We had plenty of chances, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Ericsson tied the game 1-1 early in the second period.

Ericsson received the puck at the point from Abdelkader and snapped a shot that flew by Varlamov at 4:09.

The goal was Ericsson’s second, but his first since Oct. 31 in Ottawa, ending a 39-game scoring drought — and was the sixth game in the last eight that a Red Wings defenseman has scored.

“That’s one thing we’ve talked about with our defensemen, making sure we’re delivering pucks to the net,” Blashill said. “Going back to the beginning of the year, we weren’t doing that.

“But now they’re buying into it and doing a good job of delivering to the net and it doesn’t have to be pretty, you just have to find a way to get those shots to create chaos.”

Through 40 minutes, the Red Wings held a 27-11 shots advantage and that very well reflected what kind of game it had been.

Duchene opened the game’s scoring in the first period.

Colorado forward Mikhail Grigorenko made a nice move, eluding two Red Wings and skating down to the goal line where he backhanded a pass to Duchene, who scored his 25th goal.