Originally created 05/08/99

Detroit tops Colorado



DENVER -- In a game that matched talent-laden teams on both sides, it was a goaltender who wasn't expected to play and a forward who hadn't scored a point in the playoffs who made the biggest impacts.

Bill Ranford had 37 saves and Kirk Maltby scored 4:18 into overtime, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over Colorado in the opening game of their second-round playoff series Friday night.

Ranford, who started in goal in place of the injured Chris Osgood (sprained right knee), was outstanding, particularly in the third period when he made 16 saves, several of the acrobatic variety.

Maltby, stationed just right of the goal, took a pass from Kris Draper behind the net and put it past Patrick Roy to give the Red Wings their fifth consecutive win in the postseason after a first-round sweep of Anaheim.

Both teams survived five-minute penalties against them, but the Avalanche couldn't overcome the loss of their best player, Peter Forsberg, who was assessed a game misconduct late in the second period.

Roy finished with 31 saves.

Game 2 is scheduled in Denver on Sunday.

"I learned this morning," Ranford said of coach Scotty Bowman's decision to start him. "Ozzie is doing better every day, but they decided to give him a couple more days of rest.

"When you haven't played for three-plus weeks, I tried not to get too wound up in the game early on. I got my feet underneath me as the game went on. The fatigue factor was a big concern, but I just tried to shut that out."

Ranford, the league's playoff MVP while with Edmonton in 1990, was acquired by Detroit from Tampa Bay on March 23 but hadn't played since the Red Wings' next-to-last regular-season game on April 14.

"Billy was great," said Bowman, who recorded his 199th playoff victory -- an NHL record. "Our guys have a lot of confidence in him."

Maltby said he saw Draper "get the puck behind the net and tried to get open for him. I just wanted to get the shot off quickly and toward the net. I was fortunate to get it past Patrick."

Avalanche coach Bob Hartley was upset that similar five-minute boarding penalties against Forsberg and Detroit's Darren McCarty resulted in an ejection of Forsberg, but not McCarty.

Jim Gregory, NHL vice president of hockey operations, said the rules state that an act of boarding that results in an injury to the face or head -- such as Forsberg's hit -- demands an ejection. On McCarty's hit, however, there was no apparent face or head injury.

Forsberg was unavailable for comment after the game.

"It was a disappointing loss because we played well enough to win, we had great intensity and we made good decisions," Hartley said. "But they got the final shot, and it was a great scoring chance."

In a tightly officiated first period that featured eight penalties -- five of them against Colorado -- the Avalanche took a 2-1 lead.

Detroit scored first. After gaining a 5-on-3 advantage for 22 seconds as a result of penalties against Colorado's Adam Foote and Sylvain Lefebvre, Steve Yzerman chipped in a shot from just left of the net at 3:54.

Colorado had its own 5-on-3 advantage for 21 seconds later in the period but couldn't capitalize.

But Theo Fleury tied it on a power play at 10:51, taking a rebound and bouncing the puck off the post from just right of the net.

Less than two minutes later, Colorado's Adam Deadmarsh, fighting off Chris Chelios inside the right circle, redirected a shot from the point by Foote for a go-ahead goal at 12:34.

Detroit made it 2-2 in the second period. Claude Lemieux's apparent goal early in the period was disallowed because of a hand pass. Then at 16:30, Detroit's Vyacheslav Kozlov punched in a rebound of a shot from the right circle by Sergei Fedorov on a power play.

Two minutes later, the Avalanche lost Forsberg, who was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Forsberg hit Brendan Shanahan from behind, knocking Shanahan into the glass and opening a cut around his right eye.

Colorado killed off part of that five-minute penalty in the second period, and then killed off the remaining 3:39 in the third when Detroit managed no serious scoring chances.

At 10:00, McCarty was assessed a five-minute boarding penalty for slamming Lemieux into the boards from behind, leaving a stunned Lemieux lying on the ice for more than a minute.

McCarty's penalty gave Colorado a 5-on-3 advantage for 32 seconds and a 5-on-4 for the next 4:28, but the Red Wings killed it off, thanks to several outstanding saves by Ranford.