Nicklas Lidstrom's third period goal lifted the Detroit Red Wings into play-off contention with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. The Red Wings won the NHL's first game back after a two-week Olympic break when Lidstrom's power-play wrist shot with 9:03 remaining effectively ended Colorado's hopes of a come-from-behind victory. "I thought we really played with some desperation in the third period," Lidstrom said.
"Earlier in the season, we could have lost a game like tonight." Detroit had taken a 2-0 advantage in the first period with goals from Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen before Colorado (35-21-6) tied the contest in the second through TJ Galiardi and Chris Stewart. The win lifted the Red Wings (29-21-12) into eighth place in the Western Conference with the def-ending conference champions hoping Mike Babcock, their coach, will inspire a late-season run after leading Canada to a gold medal in the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
"We talked about it today, that we have to make a decision as to whether we want to get in [the play-offs]," Babcock said of the Red Wings, who have reached the post-season every year since 1990. "We've got enough bodies now and with our line-up we should be a good hockey club. You can't win one, lose one. "We have the ability and now we have to dig in and find a way and the determination to get it done."
Detroit made a poor start to the season while dealing with injuries, but improved ahead of the break and will look to carry on winning. Elsewhere, Steve Ott, the Dallas Stars' left winger, has signed a four-year contract extension, while Matt Stajan, the Calgary Flames centre, had his deal extended by the same length. The Pittsburgh Penguins, the reigning Stanley Cup champions, have acquired Jordan Leopold, the Florida Panthers defenceman, in return for a second-round draft pick.
* With agencies