Patrick Roy stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season - all in the last two weeks - and Alex Tanguay scored the lone goal as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the Red Wings, 1-0, to extend their unbeaten streak to seven games.
Hull’s drought reached six games as he tries to join Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner as the only 700-goal scorers in NHL history.
The Red Wings’ fortunes have mirrored those of the outspoken Hull. This was the defending Stanley Cup champions’ second 1-0 loss during a season-high five-game winless streak (0-3-2).
Asked if Hull’s struggles have become a distraction, Detroit coach Dave Lewis said, “I think it’s perceived as a distraction, but I don’t know if it’s a distraction to the team. People are waiting for it to happen, and it’ll happen.”
Colorado is headed in the opposite direction. Since a 4-2 loss to Detroit on January 16, the Avalanche are 5-0-2 and have climbed within eight points of first-place Vancouver in the Northwest Division.
“I thought we were playing much better when we lost to Detroit,” Roy said. “It was just a matter of time before we got on a roll.”
With his Hall of Fame father, Bobby, watching from a luxury box, Hull had two outstanding chances to reach the milestone - and secure at least one point for the Red Wings. He flicked a rebound off the right goalpost early in the third period and was stopped by Roy on a blast from the left faceoff circle with 37 seconds to play.
“If Brett scores, good for him,” said Roy, who has allowed more than his share of milestone goals. “Everybody knows he’s going to score one more this year. I wanted to just go out and focus on my play and focus on the team. We didn’t put our focus on him, we’re just here to win a hockey game.”
Roy helped the Avalanche do that by stopping 10 shots in the first and third periods and eight in the second.
“I don’t allow myself to think about it being a 1-0 game,” he said. “I just tried to focus on making the saves. I tried not to look at the clock. I just go and read the play. I didn’t want to start thinking because I don’t want any negative thoughts.”
Roy played most of the game with a lead after Tanguay scored his 11th goal of the season and fifth in as many contests.
With 2:10 to go in the first period, defenseman Rob Blake fired a slap shot from the top of the left circle. It missed the net and caromed off the boards to Tanguay, who flipped it past sprawled goaltender Curtis Joseph.
“It was a great play by (Martin) Skoula and the boards were bouncy and it came right to my stick,” Tanguay said. The rest was up to Roy, who staved off a scramble just over a minute into the final period and kicked out his right pad to stop a one-timer from Brendan Shanahan with 4:51 remaining.
“The last month, he’s been great, and when he’s on his game like that, everyone plays better around him,” Colorado coach Tony Granato said of his goalie. “He’s a man on a mission to prove he’s still the best. He is the best. He loves to compete and we’re lucky to have him on our side.”