The Red Wings faced adversity. No Datsyuk, no Cleary, no Rafalski, and obviously no Modano. They were on the road facing a young and energetic Colorado team that seemed more prepared for the game from the get-go. The Avs had a lot of jump and the Wings seemed a step behind. And just 3:29 into the period the Avs took the lead thanks to a goal from Matt Duchene. A penalty by Colorado, however, allowed the Wings to get some offensive pressure of their own. Jiri Hudler put the Wings on the board to tie the game at one with a power play goal. The lead would not last. The Avs would come right back with a goal from TJ Galiardi. But the Red Wings power play would strike again later in the period to tie the game back up. Johan Franzen scored his 16th of the season (he is now tied with Danny Cleary for the team lead) to make it a 2-2 hockey game. That is how the first period would end. It looked like it was going to be an ugly one, but the Wings persevered and weathered the storm. It was a wild period for sure.
The second period is what contributed the most to making tonight the special night that it was. We all knew the number on every Red Wings fan's mind: 400. Chris Osgood had yet another shot at the career milestone of 400 wins. There was no scoring in the period, but the Avalanche could have easily taken over the game. The Wings were out-shot 23-9. Osgood was standing on his head. Colorado even had three power plays in the period but no dice. Osgood was feeling it.
The third period was much more evenly matched, and it was all about special teams. It seemed as if the Red Wings were on their way to a victory when Nicklas Lidstrom scored on the power play 14:37 into the period. It continued to seem that way until Niklas Kronwall took an untimely penalty about three minutes later. It would cost the team. Just 10 seconds into the power play, Matt Duchene scored his second of the game to tie the game at three. And so the game would need overtime to decide the winner.
Hard work by Darren Helm led to a PP in OT for the Wings. Peter Budaj tried to poke-check him behind the net but ended up tripping him. It was a clear trip, so the call had to be made. And so the Wings would take advantage of Colorado's struggling PK yet again. Who better than Niklas Kronwall to score the game winner? Talk about redemption. The man that took the undisciplined penalty that led to the game tying goal scored the game winning goal in over time.
The line on the ice celebrated with Kronwall, but the rest of the team immediately skated to Chris Osgood. Osgood was clearly excited himself and his teammates were absolutely ecstatic for him. The celebration is one not to forget. 400 wins is something to talk about. just 9 other goaltenders can say that they too have at least 400 career wins. Osgood is in good company with the likes of Brodeur, Roy, Belfour, Joseph, Sawchuk, Plante, Esposito, Hall, and Fuhr. Congratulations are in order. And on behalf of every Red Wings fan out there and hockey fan out there I would like to congratulate Chris Osgood on the milestone.
Notes: Tomas Holmstrom and Kevin Shattenkirk proved the age-old adage that hockey players are warriors. Both of them took pucks to the face and returned to the game tonight... Fittingly Chris Osgood was the first start of the game... The Red Wings play again Wednesday night against the Stars in Dallas.