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Late penalties give Wings big edge

2/6/2004

DENVER (AP) -- Boos and debris rained down on the ice. This
wasn't the ending Colorado's fans wanted in a matchup of the NHL's
two best teams and biggest rivals.

The Avalanche weren't too excited about it, either.

Brett Hull scored 57 seconds into overtime after two Colorado
players were hit with penalties at the end of regulation, leading
the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Avalanche on Thursday
night.

"It was a good game all the way," Colorado's Steve Konowalchuk
said. "It's unfortunate it had to end that way."

Detroit had a two-man advantage to start overtime after
Konowalchuk and Adam Foote were called for simultaneous four-minute
high-sticking penalties in the final 1.6 seconds.

Normally NHL overtimes are played 4-on-4, but in this case the
Red Wings were given a 5-on-3 edge to begin the period.

The crowd booed throughout the overtime and started throwing
bottles and cups on the ice after Hull's hard shot from the top of
the right circle went in over David Aebischer's right shoulder.

"They may have been a little misfortunate to go 5-on-3 in
overtime, but we've got a couple of guys bleeding in here to
warrant it," said Detroit's Ray Whitney, who scored his 200th
career goal in the second period.

Low-scoring Mathieu Dandenault also had a goal, and Curtis Joseph stopped 29 shots for Detroit, 5-2-4 its last 11 games.

Teemu Selanne and Alex Tanguay scored for Colorado, 5-1-2-1 its
last nine.

The Avalanche and Red Wings have won five of the past eight
Stanley Cup titles and met in the playoffs three times in five
years.

They've also been two of the league's best teams most of this
season; Colorado entered with a league-leading 72 points, and
Detroit was tied for second just two behind.

Meeting for the first time so late in the season only added to
the buildup.

The crowd was into it right away, buzzing during the national
anthem and starting the derogatory chants with the first drop of
the puck.

The Wings and Avs gave them plenty to cheer about with the kind
of wide-open scoring chances and dazzling moves that looked more
like a prelude to this weekend's All-Star Game than a
regular-season match.

"This was an exciting game between two highly skilled teams,
going end to end," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "You saw
great saves and great plays, and some great goals. It was an
exciting game."

Selanne got things started just 1:34 in, flipping a backhander
through traffic past Joseph after gloving Nicklas Lidstrom's weak
pass in Detroit's zone.

The roar from Selanne's 13th goal was still going strong when
Tanguay broke down the left side, deked Joseph to the ice with a
fake and flipped in a shot off the right post just 18 seconds
later.

"We created a lot offensively," Granato said. "We did a good
job of moving the puck around and creating the chances."

But Detroit came right back, working around the perimeter on a
power play until Whitney beat Aebischer between the pads from the
top of the circles.

Dandenault tied it in the second period, lifting a backhander
that slipped under Aebischer's armpit on the stick side.

"It's a credit to everyone in here," Joseph said. "We battled
back, battled back. I thought we got our legs and played better as
the game went on."

And it wouldn't be Wings-Avs if there weren't plenty of
chippiness.

Colorado's Peter Worrell started things off by chasing Steve Yzerman to Detroit's bench before being sent to the penalty box. Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom followed with a shoulder check that sent Peter Forsberg to the ice for another penalty.

Another collision in front of Detroit's goal led to a scrum of
pushing and shoving.

And that was just the first period.

"It was an entertaining game," Whitney said. "The fans got a
pretty good show out there."

Joseph made sure of that, rebounding from the two quick goals
with some spectacular saves.

He stopped Milan Hejduk on consecutive shots on a power play in
the first period, then made a pad save on a hard shot by Rob Blake
and covered the rebound on the top of the net. In the third period,
Joseph dived back across the crease to block a shot by Konowalchuk.

"They threw a lot of things at him. Curtis was very solid,"
Detroit coach Dave Lewis said.

Game notes
Foote, a defenseman, returned for Colorado after missing two games with
migraines. ... Dandenault's goal was his second of the season and his first since Oct. 20 against Montreal. ... Avalanche F Dan Hinote
missed his third straight game with a concussion. ... Detroit is
16-3-1 when a defenseman scores.