Red Wings drop feisty, physical game to Avalanche 2-0

DETROIT (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche stayed hot on the ice and kept their cool when things got physical.

Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves for his 24th career shutout and first of the season in Colorado’s 2-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night. The Avalanche stretched their point streak to 11 games (9-0-2) and have won seven of their last eight.

“They got off to a good start, but our defense really picked it up after that,” Varlamov said. “We knew they were going to come out flying, but they only got five shots in the third. That shows you what a great job our defense was doing. They played smart and took away Detroit’s speed.”

The third period — which featured several big hits, two fights and a scrum along the boards next to the Red Wings bench — evoked memories of the intense rivalry between the teams from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.

“When a game gets physical like that, you have to play smart hockey,” Colorado defenseman Ian Cole said. “There are times where you get punched in the face and you have to take it, because you can’t give up a power play when you are protecting a 1-0 lead in the third period.”

Cole fought Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi early in the second period after laying a big hit on Andreas Athanasiou.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog also scored.

Jonathan Bernier stopped 27 shots for Detroit.

“I thought our effort was really good and we were physical,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought we created chances, but we didn’t put any of them away.”

The NHL’s top scorer combined with the league’s second-leading point producer for a power-play goal to give the Avalanche a 1-0 advantage 4:54 into the second. Mikko Rantanen set up MacKinnon in the slot and he ripped a one-timer past Bernier.

MacKinnon has 19 goals and 43 points. Rantanen has 44 points.

The goal came six seconds after Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson went off for holding.

Landeskog, who plays with MacKinnon and Rantanen on perhaps the most dangerous line in the NHL, added an empty-net goal in the final minute. It was his 16th goal.

It was the second of back-to-back games for the Red Wings, who won 4-2 in Boston on Saturday night.

NOTES: Colorado was without D Tyson Barrie because of a lower-body injury. … MacKinnon was the NHL’s Second Star for November with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists). … Detroit D Trevor Daley did not play due to a lower-body injury. … Detroit outshot Colorado 13-7 in the first period.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Red Wings: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.