Red Wings no match for Avalanche’s stars in 6-3 loss

Detroit News

Denver — The Red Wings were no match Monday for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Colorado hasn’t played to the level it did last season thus far, with a ton of injuries impacting its lineup, but the Avalanche looked powerful in defeating the Wings 6-3.

The Wings have lost nine consecutive games to Colorado in recent years.

Andrew Copp scored his fourth goal to prevent a shutout, after the Avalanche had taken a 5-0 lead late in the second period.

BOX SCORE: Avalanche 6, Red Wings 3

“Against a team like that you have to be real tight checking and disciplined and we found our way into the (penalty) box,” Copp said. “Once they get moving around around and we were kind of played passive in the defensive zone a little bit, you let those guys go around the world and they’re going to find shooting and passing lanes and end up in the back in the net.”

Ben Chiarot scored his fourth goal at 16:20 minutes of the third period, making it 5-2, briefly igniting thoughts of a Wings comeback. But any thought of that was squashed when Nathan MacKinnon scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway, making it 6-2.

David Perron redirected Moritz Seider’s shot with 34 seconds left for the Wings’ final goal.

“A lot of it was their stars,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “A player like MacKinnon, he took the game over. Certainly it was a credit to their stars, but again, we left some plays out there and had some opportunities and if we had cashed in on some of our chances early, it could have been a little different in the end.”

Goaltender Ville Husso stopped 17 of 22 shots before being replaced for Magnus Hellberg to begin the third period. The fact Hellberg will get the start Tuesday in Arizona, it was beneficial for Hellberg to see some light work (four saves on five shots). But Husso, as has been a trend, didn’t get great support in front of him, but also wasn’t quite as sharp as early in the season.

“We’ve probably asked too much of him of late and he’s played some hard goalie games,” Lalonde said. “But some of these saves he’d want back. It reflects some of our team, you want a little more complete game to be successful.”

Cale Makar had two goals (one a power play) as did MacKinnon, and Artturi Lehkonen and J.T. Compher (power play) also scored for the Avalanche (22-17-3).

The Red Wings (18-17-7) have lost two consecutive games, and seven of their last seven. They’ll attempt to correct things Tuesday in Arizona (9 p.m./BSD/97.1), where the Coyotes are on a nine-game losing streak.

“Five on five we were pretty good, but they (the Avalanche) got the big line there and they way they roll around the offensive zone there, we gave them too much time and space with the puck and they’re going to make you pay,” captain Dylan Larkin said.

The Wings had a good start, carried the play early in the first period, but Lehkonen snapped a shot from the dot that beat Husso at 5:12 of the first period. Husso was tripped up by MacKinnon atop the crease, and the Wings challenged the goal. But video affirmed the contact between Husso and MacKinnon was accidental and outside the crease, allowing the goal.

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Larkin felt MacKinnon’s skate tugged on Husso and affected the goalie, but in the end, it was part of a difficult Wings first period.

“The first period didn’t go the way we wanted,” Larkin said. “They score (on the challenged goal) and they go on the power play and it just gave their top players too many touches with the puck. It’s something you really want to limit when you come play in this arena.”

Makar extended the lead to 2-0 at 18:14 of the first period, pretty much sealing the outcome early. The Avalache dominated the second period, with elite players such as Makar and MacKinnon pacing Colorado’s dominance of the puck and the game.

“We had some stretches in our game we were pretty good,” Lalonde said. “Hopefully it’s something we can build off of and get a good start and hopefully flip these outcomes.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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