DENVER (AP) -- Before Manny Legace blew out the candles, he shut
out the Avalanche.
Legace, who turned 33 Saturday, handed Colorado its first
shutout of the season, leading Detroit past the Avalanche 3-0 at
the Pepsi Center.
"I finally won one on my birthday," Legace said. "I've been
playing games on my birthday all my life and lost them all -- until
Legace (22-6-2) stopped 28 shots. His fourth shutout of the
season and 10th of his career left just three teams who haven't
been blanked this year: Detroit, Dallas and San Jose.
The Red Wings are 3-0 against the Avalanche this season, but
unlike their first two meetings, when they combined for 17 goals,
this one was dominated by defense and missed opportunities on the
Detroit, ranked No. 2 in the league in penalty killing, killed
off all seven of Colorado's power plays.
"The power play was terrible," Avs captain Joe Sakic said.
"We didn't support one another that well. ... I don't think we
generated hardly any chances on the power play."
Ten shots to be exact.
"Every time we got the power play, we didn't do anything,"
Through the first two periods, Colorado managed just five shots
in five power plays, drawing the ire of the Pepsi Center crowd. The
Avs finally put some life into their fans when they got off three
shots on their sixth power play but again Legace kept them from
putting the puck into the net.
Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville was stumped over his suddenly
scuffling power play unit.
"It's been good all year, but the last two games it has really
struggled. We have given away three points in two games, and it was
the difference tonight," Quenneville said. "We lost a little bit
of our momentum in the game in the second period by missing four
opportunities, and that was clearly the difference.
"They are on a roll defensively, killing penalties. Their PK is
very smart, they anticipate well and move well together and they
were really disruptive on our entries, and we didn't have enough
puck presence on our dumps and retrievals and they really
frustrated us tonight."
Shortly after killing the Avs' sixth power play, Detroit broke
the scoreless tie with Dan Cleary's third goal of the season. He
took a nifty pass out of the right corner from Henrik Zetterberg
and pushed it past David Aebischer (20-12-2), who had stopped the
first 21 shots he faced, at 5:40 of the third period.
Cleary said it was a bit of a lucky break.
"I was open because both teams were changing," Cleary said.
"The puck was loose and the puck ended up with us. Zetterberg got
it and I shot it through the legs. ... We showed so much patience,
but we were frustrated, too, for two periods. There were penalties,
but you didn't see them score any goals."
After a Brad May turnover, Tomas Holmstrom picked up the puck
and dished it to Mikael Samuelsson, whose wrist shot from the upper
left circle at 10:01 made it 2-0, and Robert Lang's breakaway goal
capped the scoring at 18:29, sending the fans streaming to the
"The boys gave me a great gift," Legace said. "Three goals in
the third period."
Colorado's Kurt Sauer replaced Ossi Vaananen as Patrice
Brisebois's defense partner. Vaananen, who led Colorado with a
plus-10 rating, had an operation Friday to repair his right ankle,
which he broke the night before at Nashville. ... Avs F Milan
Hejduk, who hurt his neck Thursday night, is expected to return to
the ice Tuesday night against Edmonton.