Wings win tainted as rivalry with Avs renewed

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche's streak is over, but the rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings may have new life.

Johan Franzen and Pavel Datsyuk scored two goals each and the Red Wings ended Colorado's hot start with a 4-2 win Thursday night.

Daniel Alfredsson had three assists and Jonas Gustavsson made 38 saves for the Red Wings, who won their fourth straight in a game tainted by a hard hit that knocked Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall out of the game.

A rivalry born in blood in 1996 added a new chapter when Avalanche fourth-line left-wing Cody McLeod drove Kronwall into the boards with a vicious hit early in the first period.

Kronwall fell to the ice motionless as teammates came to his defense. He was put on a backboard and carried off the ice but had been moving his legs and arms.

The Red Wings said during the game Kronwall suffered a concussion and cuts to his right ear but he did not leave the arena.

"He hasn't gone to the hospital," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. "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."

McLeod was given a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct and could face disciplinary action from NHL director of safety Brendan Shanahan when the league reviews ths play.

"The good thing about that is they pay Shanny to figure that out, not me," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

That was the popular opinion after the game.

"From the bench, I thought Kronwall turned his back at the last minute," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Does that make it dirty? I guess Shanahan has to make a decision. From the bench I saw a defenseman turn his back at the last second. For anyone who knows the game it's hard for a player to stop."

Detroit rallied behind its teammate with two goals in the third period to break a 2-all tie. Franzen beat goalie Semyon Varlamov early in the third after Alex Tanguay went off for hooking to make it 3-2, and Datsyuk sealed it with his fourth goal of the season at 13:35.

"It seemed like they weren't going to call anything and then at the end they call one on Tangs there and they scored the game winner," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. "I think we were all surprised at that call after the nature of the period. That's hockey, you've got to deal with it. All their goals tonight, they deserved to get."

Franzen's two goals give him 15 in 28 career games against the Avalanche.

"Just good memories," he said. "It gives me a good feeling coming in here."

Colorado lost despite outshooting Detroit 30-16 in the last two periods and 40-28 overall.

"We got confidence in him," Babcock said of Gustavsson. "More importantly, no he's got confidence in himself."

Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog scored for Colorado, which lost for the first time after winning its first six games of the season.

It was a seesaw battle early in the game.

The Red Wings took advantage of the McLeod power play when Franzen roofed a shot right in front of Varlamov to give Detroit a 1-0 lead 6 minutes, 8 seconds into the game.

Datsyuk made it 2-0 when he scored on Danny Dekeyser's rebound with five minutes left in the first.

It was the first time Colorado has trailed by two goals this season. They made it 2-1 when Johnson skated the length of the ice and beat Gustavsson with a slap shot with seven seconds left on a power play.

Landeskog tied it on a power play with his first goal at 14:42 of the second.

Varlamov stopped 24 shots for the Avalanche.

"We played a good game," Roy said. "I know we had no reward tonight but there were nights we didn't play as well and there was some."

NOTES: Johnson's goal was his first since Feb. 17, 2012, a span of 57 games. ... Datsyuk's goal in the first period was his 16th in 40 games against Colorado. ... Detroit won all three games against Colorado last season, the clubs' last in the same conference. ... Varlamov is the first goalie in Colorado history and the franchise's third to start the season 5-0-0. Mario Gosselin did it in 1985-86 and Stephane Fiset matched it nine years later. Both came while the team was in Quebec.
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