Howard, Red Wings top Avalanche 2-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm •  Published: March 5, 2013
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DETROIT (AP) — Niklas Kronwall's shot from the blue line went wide, then caromed back off the boards just as goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was extending his right leg.

The puck bounced off Giguere's skate and into the net, giving the Detroit Red Wings a fluky but important goal.

"I couldn't really find a lane through to the net, so I tried to get it somewhat close," Kronwall said. "That was a first."

Kronwall's goal in the second period ended up being decisive when the Red Wings held on for a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Johan Franzen also scored for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard made 36 saves.

"The difference was really a couple of bounces for them and one hot goalie for them," Giguere said.

Colorado trailed 2-0 when Paul Stastny spoiled Howard's bid for a shutout, scoring with 1:30 to play in the third.

Detroit has gone four straight games without allowing a goal in the first or second period, but the Avalanche had their share of chances in this one. Howard needed to be sharp on several occasions.

"This was our loosest game in the last while," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "To win on a nightly basis, you can't leave your goalie like that as much as we did."

Detroit was coming off a shootout loss to Chicago on Sunday — after the Red Wings came within 2:02 of handing the Blackhawks their first regulation loss of the season.

They almost blew a late lead in this one too, but Colorado wasn't able to tie it up. The Avalanche nearly had a fortunate bounce of their own in the final seconds when a shot went wide and caromed off the boards out to Matt Duchene in front of the net. But Duchene couldn't beat Howard.

After the final buzzer, a frustrated Duchene broke his stick into three pieces when he slammed it against the empty net Colorado had been defending, then threw the rest of the stick down on the ice.

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