Jordan Leopold scored on a penalty shot and Andrew Raycroft made 34 saves as the Colorado Avalanche held on to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Monday, snapping the Stanley Cup champions’ five-game home unbeaten run.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the third period with the Red Wings applying pressure, Leopold notched the game decider, beating Detroit netminder Chris Osgood with a stinging back after Colorado were awarded a penalty shot.
It was a rare win for the Avalanche in the Motor City, after they lost all four meetings last year and were swept from Western conference semi-finals by the Red Wings on their march to the Stanley Cup.
“[Detroit] have some skill and work as hard as anyone, they made us work, that’s for sure,” said Raycroft, after making only his fifth start of the season. “We got a few breaks and got out of it with two. For playing one game in the last month I felt real sharp.”
The Red Wings found themselves in a hole when Wojtek Wolski scored just 67 seconds after the opening faceoff and Paul Stastny added a powerplay tally three minutes later.
Detroit had a chance to quickly get back into the contest when the Avalanche handed them a two-man advantage for 65 seconds but the NHL’s top powerplay team could not convert.
The Red Wings finally broke through midway in the second when Tomas Holmstrom jabbing home a loose puck to trim the deficit to 2-1.
But the Avalanche restored their two-goal cushion early in the third on Leopold’s penalty marker, and then weathered a late rally by the Wings in which Marion Hossa beat Raycroft with a quick shot to make it a one-goal game with seven minutes to play.
“The good teams score two goals, it’s not so easy to come back every time,” Hossa told reporters. “We’ve had to come back so many games lately and not every time are you going to come back.
“I don’t know the reason why, we just have to be much better from the beginning,” he said. “Coming back from 2-0 against a good team like Colorado is not easy.”
SHARKS 3, KINGS 2
Patrick Marleau tied the score with a short-handed goal before San Jose topped Los Angeles 3-2 in a shootout on Monday to set an NHL mark for the best record through the first 30 games of the season.
Ryane Clowe scored a power-play goal in the first period and the deciding goal in the shootout.
The Sharks improved to 25-3-2 with their 12th victory in 13 games and 19th in the past 22.
The closest team in the Western Conference — Detroit — fell eight points back after their loss to Colorado.