Howard, Red Wings top Avs 2-1 |

Howard, Red Wings top Avs 2-1

AP Photo

DETROIT – Niklas Kronwall scored in the second period thanks to a fluky bounce, and the Detroit Red Wings held on to beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Detroit opened the scoring with 13:00 to go in the second on a breakaway goal by Johan Franzen, and Kronwall added to the lead when his shot from the point went wide, bounced back off the boards and went in off the right skate of goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The Red Wings needed that second goal, because Colorado’s Paul Stastny spoiled Jimmy Howard’s bid for a shutout when he scored with 1:30 to play in the third.

Detroit has gone four straight games without allowing a goal in the first or second period.

Detroit was coming off a shootout loss to Chicago on Sunday – after the Red Wings came within 2:02 of handing the Blackhawks their first regulation loss of the season.

They almost blew a late lead in this one too, but Colorado wasn’t able to tie it up. The Avalanche nearly had a fortunate bounce of their own in the final seconds when a shot went wide and caromed off the boards out to Matt Duchene in front of the net. But Duchene couldn’t beat Howard.

After the final buzzer, a frustrated Duchene broke his stick into three pieces when he slammed it against the empty net Colorado had been defending, then threw the rest of the stick down on the ice.

The rivalry between Detroit and Colorado isn’t quite as heated as it used to be, and the first period Tuesday passed without a goal or a penalty.

Franzen gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead in the second when he got his stick on a Colorado shot from the point and then immediately began skating up the ice. Damien Brunner controlled the puck and sent a pass to Franzen, who went in alone and beat Giguere high to the glove side.

Kronwall’s goal with 2:28 left was more bizarre. His shot missed to the left of the net, but it caromed back as Giguere was extending his right leg and ended up bouncing off the goalie and in.

Howard made 36 saves. The most acrobatic of them came early in the third, when he stretched all the way out on his side to stop John Mitchell in front of the net. Mitchell had been left alone and had time to pull the puck to his backhand, but after maneuvering around Howard, he couldn’t put the puck past him.

Howard later stopped P.A. Parenteau on a breakaway.

The Red Wings wasted a chance to score again when they failed to take advantage of a two-man advantage in the third. The 5-on-3 situation began after Colorado’s Chuck Kobasew was called for boarding Brendan Smith – a hit that led to the first hint of a scuffle all night.

NOTES: Giguere made 31 saves for the Avalanche, who will have to turn around and play at Chicago on Wednesday night.

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