Playing in the fifth outdoor game of his career, Red Wings forward Brad Richards celebrated in grand fashion. He scored the game-winning goal with one minute left on the clock to propel the Wings to a 5-3 victory in the Stadium Series game, which was played at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The goal was his seventh of the season.
Tomas Tatar started the scoring at 5:07 of the first period. After a failed clearing attempt by Shawn Matthias of the Avalanche, Tatar grabbed the loose puck and whipped a wrister past Semyon Varlamov.
Colorado would score the next two, with Nathan McKinnon getting the first. His long wrist shot beat Petr Mrazek to the glove side, tying the score at one. Tyson Barrie gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead at the 14:38 mark of the first, after making Mrazek bite on a move in front of the goal and burying the puck before he could recover. The goal was challenged by head coach Jeff Blashill for goaltender interference, but the call on the ice stood. The score was 2-1 after one.
After a scoreless second period, what happened in the third period was anything but expected. Gustav Nyquist wasted very little time tying the game, as his perfectly placed no-look backhander found the back of the net at the 1:27 mark of the period. Justin Abdelkader gave the Wings a lead at 13:28, on a nifty redirection of a Darren Helm pass from behind the goal.
14 seconds later, the Avalanche tied it again. Alex Tanguay ripped a one-timer past Mrazek at 13:42, making the score 3-3.
After Richards scored at the 19:00 mark to give the Red Wings another lead, Helm found the empty net for the final dagger.
At one point in the third period, the wind was so strong that it was whipping “snow” into the air in front of the crowd of 50,095.
Despite the win, Detroit’s power play struggles continue, as they posted an 0-for-5 mark for the game. Luckily, the penalty was on point all evening, killing off all three Avalanche power plays. Final shots were 28-27 in favor of Detroit.
Goaltender Petr Mrazek was steady, with 24 saves on the night.
With the win, the Red Wings now have 73 points and hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the second wild card spot.
The Red Wings will be in action next on Monday when they pay a visit to the Dallas Stars.