Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, January 16th
Red Wings4Final
Game 2: Thursday, February 6th
Red Wings0
Game 3: Saturday, February 8th
Red Wings3Final
Game 4: Saturday, March 15th
Red Wings5

Red Wings 4

(26-12-1, 60 pts)

Avalanche 2

(17-14-5, 48 pts)

9:00 PM ET, January 16, 2003

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

1 2 3 T
DET 1 1 24
COL 0 1 12

C. Joseph (Red Wings - G): Saves: 36, Save Pct.: .947

P. Forsberg (Avalanche - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Shanahan (Red Wings - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Foote's mistake costly for Avs

DENVER (AP) -- The Colorado Avalanche were seeking redemption for a lopsided loss in last year's conference finals.

 Brendan Shanahan

What they got was another embarrassing moment at the hands of their biggest rival.

Brendan Shanahan scored two goals in the third period as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Avalanche 4-2 Thursday night in a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals.

Much like the conference finals last year, Colorado seemed to be in control before falling apart in the end.

The Avalanche rallied from an early two-goal deficit, but wound up losing their third straight to Detroit on a bad decision by defenseman Adam Foote.

"When things aren't going well, when you do something it ends up in your net," said Colorado coach Tony Granato, whose team has lost four of five. "A fluke, a bounce, a call against you -- when things are not going your way they are able to capitalize on them."

Colorado had already made a line change when Joe Sakic flipped a pass back to Foote, who was being replaced by Greg de Vries. Shanahan had a clear path to the goal, but Foote skated off, thinking he would be called for a penalty if he touched the puck.

Shanahan then swooped in and beat Patrick Roy to the far post with 7:18 left.

"I had a split second to make that decision," Foote said. "When you see a guy coming down and you have two guys back, you've got to assume that nothing like that is going to happen. If I take the penalty, then they say you have to know better.

"It's one of those things where I'm right at the bench, I have to come off. I wanted to touch it, but I couldn't."

Shanahan added an empty-net goal with 1:06 left, his 16th of the season, as Detroit bounced back from a 4-1 loss to Chicago the night before.

"These two teams battle, battle, battle right to the very end. That is what it was," Detroit coach Dave Lewis said.

Both teams have new coaches and some of the players have changed since last year, but the Red Wings and the Avalanche -- who have combined to win five of the last seven Stanley Cups -- still have a strong dislike for each other.

The Colorado crowd, uncharacteristically quiet this season, seemed to perk up with the return of the hated Red Wings. The fans booed Detroit's players during introductions and started a chant of ``Let's go Avalanche!'' in the first two minutes.

There was plenty of pushing and shoving between the players, and several near-fights.

Colorado's Serge Aubin, a newcomer to the rivalry, made his mark by sending Sean Avery head-first into the boards in the second, and it took nearly a minute for the players to leave the ice after a skirmish at the end of the period.

"This game had a lot of buildup to it. It was a small task, but a small task that we passed," said Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph, who stopped 36 shots. "You could tell by the way the game was played and by the intensity that it meant more than two points."

Colorado had a 38-23 advantage in shots, but it was Detroit that scored first.

Kris Draper opened the scoring 4:01 in, one-timing a pass from Darren McCarty between Roy's pads. The play started when Joseph used his stick to poke the puck away from a charging Steven Reinprecht.

Mathieu Dandenault made it 2-0 just 1:11 into the second, skating up the left side and beating Roy to the stick side from the circle. It was his first goal since March 30, 2002 against Atlanta.

Colorado's Peter Forsberg cut the lead to one with 5:23 left in the second, skating from the right corner and squeezing a shot between Joseph's pads.

Dan Hinote tied it at 2-all 4:02 into the third, punching in a pass from Aubin before sliding into the goal on his back.

"The last half of that game I thought we really started playing well," Sakic said.

Game notes
Colorado LW Brad Larsen, who has played just six games this season due to a herniated disc, will be out at least two more weeks and might face season-ending surgery. ... Detroit's Brett Hull had an assist, but is still two goals short of 700 for his career. ... Roy is one game short of becoming the first goalie in NHL history to play 1,000 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press