DETROIT (AP) — As the clock wound down on the final game between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena, the video board at center ice wound the clock back in time.
It showed the wild brawls that erupted between the teams on the night of March 26, 1997, when what would become the NHL’s most bitter rivalry was ignited.
“That video they played at the end during the last TV timeout, it was really cool,” Detroit forward Dylan Larkin said. “It got the fans fired up.”
“I wished they played it a little earlier in the game, maybe in the first but I definitely got the chills watching it.”
There wasn’t anything close to that in the farewell tour of the Avs and Wings at Joe, a lopsided 5-1 Detroit win that exhibited little in the way of the passion that once drove this showdown, often driving things over the edge.
“Just to be a part of the rivalry is pretty cool and to play here in their last game at the Joe and get a convincing win, it feels good,” Larkin said.
The Wings, who will move into Little Caesars Arena next season, finished with a 31-23-1 edge over the Avs at the JLA.
The score was 1-all in the third period when Tomas Tatar, who has sparked the Red Wings lately, scored twice in a span of 1:36.
Tatar gave Detroit a 2-1 lead at 5:20 of the final period, then took a pass from Gus Nyquist and scored his 20th goal of the season.
Tatar, who scored just four goals in his first 31 games of season, has tallied five in the past five games.
“Obviously, you don’t want to get these up and downs, you would like to be more consistent,” Tatar said. “I guess that’s just how the league is.”
“When you’re hot or the puck’s going the right direction, you’re just finding the net,” he said.
Larkin and Nyquist also scored third-period goals for the Wings, who won back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 18-19.
Larkin’s goal came on a power play, as did Justin Abdelkader’s tally that opened the scoring in the second period. The Red Wings, 29th in the NHL on the power play, also scored twice with the man advantage in Thursday’s 5-4 at Arizona, marking the first time all season they’ve scored multiple power-play goals in consecutive games.
“No question confidence is a huge factor,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s a huge factor in individuals, it’s a huge factor in units and it’s a huge factor as a team.”
The Avs had tied the game at 3:44 of the third period when Tyson Barrie’s point shot deflected in off Nathan MacKinnon, but defensive lapses cost them.
“I thought we played pretty well for a while, but we couldn’t get anything to go in,” MacKinnon said. “Once we got a break on that goal, I thought we might get going again, but it fell apart.”
“We just made too many mistakes down the stretch,” he said.
McKinnon could find only one redeeming quality on the night.
“It was a lot of fun watching the highlights of all those old Red Wings-Avalanche games on the scoreboard,” MacKinnon said. “I wish I had gotten to play more times in this building, but the one thing I took away from that is that we need to get this franchise back to that level.”
“We want to be playing in huge games like that again,” he said.
NOTES: Detroit forward Darren Helm left the game in the second period with an apparent left leg injury after absorbing a heavy check from Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. … The Red Wings recalled forward Tomas Nosek from AHL Grand Rapids but he was a healthy scratch. … Wings forward Luke Glendening returned to the lineup after a one-game absence as a healthy scratch. … Avs forward J.T. Compher and Wings forward Larkin were college teammates at Michigan.
Avalanche: Travel to Chicago Sunday to face the Blackhawks.
Red Wings: Play host to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.