DENVER – Chris Osgood was too busy feeling the pressure from the Colorado Avalanche to put any on himself.
That was precisely what he needed.
Osgood tied a career high with 46 saves in the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-3 overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night to become the 10th goalie in NHL history to reach the 400-win plateau.
“Just the way it’s been my entire career. Nothing ever comes easy,” Osgood said, grinning.
After the game, Osgood felt more relief than accomplishment. This win has been weighing heavily on him.
But with the Avalanche applying constant pressure, he didn’t have time to give the milestone a moment’s thought.
“You try to put it out of your mind and go play. But it never works that way sometimes,” Osgood said. “I didn’t have an opportunity to think about it. I was just playing.”
Niklas Kronwall scored the winner at 3:42 of overtime and just like that the celebration was on. Osgood’s teammates hopped off the bench and swarmed him on the ice.
“Our guys just dug down deep and we played really well,” Osgood said.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings, who have won three of their past four games.
Matt Duchene scored twice for Colorado and T.J. Galiardi added another as the Avalanche had a season-high 49 shots.
“Sometimes that’s the way it goes; you deserve to win and you don’t get it,” said Galiardi, whose team has dropped three straight. “It’s an upsetting game.”
Kronwall scored the winner on a power play following a tripping call on Peter Budaj as the Avs goalie stuck out his stick and got a piece of Darren Helm as he skated around the back of the net.
A good call?
Budaj was on the fence.
“It’s the referee’s call. It’s not my call. I thought I tried to play it honest,” Budaj said. “I did collide with (Helm’s) skate.”
For Kronwall, the goal was a sense of atonement.
His team leading 3-2 late in the third period, Kronwall was called for tripping. Duchene took advantage by knocking in a rebound with 2:36 remaining to send the game to overtime.
That’s when Kronwall slammed in a shot from the left circle.
“Felt really good to contribute,” Kronwall said. “But tonight was all Ozzie. We didn’t play a good game whatsoever, but he stood on his head. It was all him tonight.”
Osgood came up big all evening, but no more than in the second period when he stopped one point-blank shot after another to keep the game tied at two. He finished with 23 saves in the period, including a solid backhanded attempts by Philippe Dupuis and Adam Foote.
So good was Osgood during a stretch in the middle portion of the period that the Red Wings fans in attendance at Pepsi Center began chanting “Ozzie.”
“I thought Ozzie set the tone,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t skate. We weren’t very good. But Ozzie hung in there.”
Late in the second period, Kevin Shattenkirk was hit in the forehead on a shot by Kris Draper, knocking the defenceman to the ice. He was helped off by the trainer, a towel covering his bloody face. He returned midway through the third period with five stitches.
“I was pretty lucky,” Shattenkirk said.
Detroit took advantage of the Avalanche’s shaky penalty-kill unit all night, scoring all four of its goals on the power play.
“Our power play won the game,” Osgood said.
Osgood did his part, too.
“This is one I definitely won’t forget,” Osgood said. “It was a lot of fun for me.”
Detroit’s offence didn’t seem to lack in production despite missing Danny Cleary, who will be sidelined for at least a month after breaking his left ankle Sunday night in Minnesota.
Cleary is one of the team’s leading goal scorers.
Draper said the injury to Cleary is a “big blow for our hockeyteam.” Pavel Datsyuk (hand/wrist) and Mike Modano (wrist) are already out of the lineup.
Asked what impact Cleary being out of the lineup might have, Babcock said, “Better have zero.”
“I’d like to have him on the bench,” Babcock said. “You really miss a guy like that. But saying that, someone’s going to get a good opportunity.”
Notes: There was a moment of silence before the game for Elizabeth Turgeon, the 18-year-old daughter of former NHL centre Pierre Turgeon. She was killed last week when the pickup truck she was driving crashed into the trailer of a semi-truck at an intersection in New Mexico. … Detroit F Jan Mursak made his NHL debut. … Osgood is 400-216-95 in his 17-year career.