Abracadabra it's Pavel
Wings' center amazes with pretty assist on first-period goal
The first-period play that Pavel Datsyuk made Sunday in helping the Red Wings take an early lead was pure wizardry, or as Fox Sports Detroit broadcaster Ken Daniels would say, “Datsyukian”.
With former Wings defenseman serving a cross-checking penalty, the Wings went on the offensive and Datsyuk went to his old bag of tricks.
The Wings’ center moved in from the right circle and sent a wrist shot that was blocked by Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson. Fortunately, Datsyuk regained control of his own blocked shot to the right of the crease, and managed – albeit off-balance – to throw a no-look, cross-ice pass to Johan Franzen, who was stationed in the middle of the left faceoff circle and left with an empty net to one-time across the goal line. The goal at 15:08 gave the Wings a 1-0 lead at Pepsi Center.
“We kept it in for over a minute and a half,” said Wings center Henrik Zetterberg, “and when you do that PK guys get tired and we finally took advantage of it and scored a goal.”
For Franzen that was his 21st goal in 27 career games – regular-season and playoffs – against Colorado.
Datsyuk has been heating up after a slow start where he tallied two goals and nine assists in the first 17 games of the season. Since then he's gotten six goals and seven assists in eight games.
“Pav and Mule were doing a real good job for us,” forward Danny Cleary said. “That was a nice pass by Pav and then they kind of took it to us and got one to tie it and then got the second one, then we were on our heels for the whole second.”
The Wings’ pressure in the first period was similar to their effort Friday in Buffalo. And Detroit could have had larger lead like it did in Buffalo, but Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov came up with several big saves. But none was bigger than his stop on forward Chris Conner who had a short-handed breakaway chance that Varlamov stopped, and with it slowed the Wings’ momentum.
“I was trying to bring (Varlamov) over and tried to slide it through his legs,” Conner said, “but he got his stick down, it was a good save.”
Detroit couldn’t muster many more chances as the Avs out-shot the Wings, 35-29, and Colorado’s defense blocked 17 shots en route to a 4-2 victory, which ended Detroit’s winning streak at seven games.
The Avs simply out-hustled the Wings in the second period and took a 2-1 lead – on goals by Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny – into the second intermission. Colorado fired 12 shots on goal before the Wings registered their first of the period on Ian White’s offering more than six minutes into the second.
The Wings tied the score when Cleary and Zetterberg led a rush over the blue line. Cleary headed directly to the front of the net, while Zetterberg – with defenseman Ryan O’Byrne playing tightly behind him – skated from the slot to the right circle and sent a backhanded shot toward Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov. The puck seemed to strike two stick blades, once off of O’Byrne’s stick and then Cleary’s and through his legs at 5:08.
“We tied it and then pretty much gave them that third one,” said Cleary, referring to TJ Galiardi’s short-handed goal that put the Avs up 3-2 at 9:22 of the third.
The Wings suffered a bigger loss when Valtteri Filppula was cut on the leg by an Avalanche player’s skate blade in the first period. He did not return to the game, and coach Mike Babcock said after that the Wings’ forward was taken to a local Denver hospital for treatment.
“Fil’s played as well as anybody has played, he’s been fantastic for us,” Cleary said. “He got cut there and all of the line combinations where jumbled.”
O’Reilly capped the scoring with an empty-netter.
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