Facing elimination and still feeling the sting of a 6-0 loss two nights earlier, the Colorado Avalanche summoned their best effort of the series. But do they have two more in them?
Claude Lemieux and Joe Sakic each scored two goals and Colorado peppered Detroit goalie Mike Vernon for four scores in the first 22 minutes as the Avalanche stayed alive in the playoffs with a 6-0 win Saturday night.
Detroit still leads the Western Conference best-of-7 final series 3-2, with Game 6 set for Detroit on Monday night.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, on the brink of elimination for the first time in their brief two-year history in Colorado, rebounded from that humbling loss in Game 4 to match that score on Saturday.
Patrick Roy, who gave up five goals in Thursday night’s loss, recorded 32 saves this time for his 11th career playoff shutout. He extended his NHL record for victories by a goalie to 96.
Sakic also had an assist, and Valeri Kamensky added four assists.
Vernon, who had limited the Avalanche to five goals in the first four games, was replaced by Chris Osgood at 2:23 of the second period after Stephane Yelle’s goal had given Colorado a 4-0 lead.
“It’s the first time in this series we had any emotion on our side,” Avalanche defender Adam Foote said. “Our attitude is, we just want to take it one shift at a time, one period at a time, one game at a time.”
Lemieux, a playoff veteran, said it is “never easy when you have your backs to the wall. I’ve been against the wall many times. We had three (wins) to go. Now it’s two to go. But I’ve never felt this confident as I do with this club. We have a lot of character on this team.”
Avalanche coach Marc Crawford attributed the victory to playing hard and staying focused for 60 minutes. “It was a good performance,” he said. “Now we have to have a great performance - our best road game of the year in Detroit.”
Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said the loss boiled down to three facets that eluded his team.
“We didn’t go after rebounds,” he said. “We didn’t shoot high when we could have shot high. We didn’t screen. If you don’t do those three things, you probably come up with a shutout against you. And that’s exactly what happened. They took the attack to us early.”
Avalanche 6, Red Wings 0
Detroit 0 0 0 - 0
Colorado 3 3 0 - 6
First period-1, Colorado, Lemieux 12 (Sakic, Kamensky), 6:46. 2, Colorado, Lemieux 13 (Ozolinsh), 11:04. 3, Colorado, Sakic 7 (Kamensky), 15:34.
Second period-4, Colorado, Yelle 1 (Keane, Miller), 2:23. 5, Colorado, Sakic 8 (Kamensky), 10:57. 6, Colorado, Young 3 (Deadmarsh, Kamensky), 18:04.
Shots on goal-Detroit 11-7-14-32. Colorado 9-15-4-28.Power-play opp.- Detroit 0 of 6; Colorado 0 of 6.Goalies-Detroit, Vernon 11-4 (11 shots-7 saves), Osgood (2:23 second, 17-15). Colorado, Roy 10-6 (32-32).A-16,061 (16,061).