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Avalanche win on Benoit's overtime goal

The SportsXchange

DETROIT - The Colorado Avalanche didn't play their best game on Thursday night, but they made it work.

Defenseman Andre Benoit's goal with 31 seconds left in the overtime period gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2, come-from-behind win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.

"We found a way to win that hockey game. We were sticking to it and found a way to win," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said.

The Avalanche trailed 2-1 after two periods, but right wing P.A. Parenteau tied the game 5:48 into the second period when he scored on a backhander from in front after Detroit goaltender Howard's stick had been accidentally knocked out of his hand by teammate right winger Johan Franzen. It was Parenteau's 13th goal.

Benoit scored the overtime goal on a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from rookie center Nathan MacKinnon. It was Benoit's fourth goal.

"That was a great pass by Nate MacKinnon and I got a good shot off, " Benoit said.

The assist extended MacKinnon's point streak to 13 games and broke Wayne Gretzky's record for longest point streak for an 18-year-old. Gretzky set the record during the 1979-80 season.

"It's pretty cool. I want to be as consistent as possible. He (Gretzky) probably doubled my point total in those games," said MacKinnon, who has five goals and 13 assists during the stretch.

He also leads all NHL rookies this season with 22 goals and 51 points.

Center Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist for Colorado (41-17-5), which won its fourth straight. Defenseman Erik Johnson had two assists, and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere had 35 saves.

"Jiggy (giguere) was big when we needed him," Duchene said. "He held us in there until we could get the winner."

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall and right winger Tomas Jurco scored for Detroit (28-21-13. Goalie Jimmy Howard made 22 saves.

"I thought we played good. We've just got to keep playing like that, let's bottle it and do it again and we're going to win more than we lose," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought all four lines did a lot of good things."

Detroit was without its top two players -- center and captain Henrik Zetterberg (out for the remainder regular season due to back surgery) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee) -- as it battles for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"I thought we did a lot of great things tonight. It's important to remember that we still got a point, it keeps us in the race here," Howard said. "It doesn't matter, every single night we've got to find a way to get points."

Jurco's power-play goal with 7:50 left in the second period gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead. He scored on a one-timer from just outside the crease for his fifth goal. It came with Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden in the penalty box for tripping.

Duchene put Colorado on the board and tied the game at 1-1, 9:49 into the second period.

His 20th goal came when he flubbed on a rebound off the end boards and the puck bounced in off the skate of Franzen.

Kronwall opened the scoring with 7:27 left in the first period with his seventh goal. He worked a give-and-go play with center Joakim Andersson and beat Giguere with a backhand shot from the bottom of the right circle.

Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey hit the goal post 9:04 into the game.

NOTES: The No. 5 jersey of former Detroit captain and D Nicklas Lidstrom was retired and raised to the Joe Louis Arena rafters during a ceremony before the game. He joined Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, Sid Abel and Steve Yzerman in having a number retired by the Red Wings. Lidstrom won seven Norris Trophies and four Stanley Cups. ... At Wednesday's trade deadline, Colorado acquired G Reto Berra from Calgary for a second-round pick in the 2014 draft. Semyon Varlamov backed up Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Thursday night. ... It was also the Red Wings' debut of C David Legwand. The native of the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods was acquired from the Nashville Predators on Wednesday for RW Patrick Eaves, prospect C Calle Jarnkrok and a conditional draft pick.
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