In a game that was nationally televised on NBC Sports Network, the Detroit Red Wings shutout the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 in Denver on Thursday night. The contest was closer than the final score indicted as the Red Wings (30-12-9) scored two empty-net goals in the closing minutes.

The Avalanche (22-19-11) beat the Red Wings 2-1 in a shootout in Detroit in the only other meeting between the old rivals this season.

Colorado’s season-long four game home winning streak came to an end with the loss.

Petr Mrazek made 28 saves on the way to his third career shutout.

The Avalanche went 0-for-3 on the power play. The club hasn’t scored a goal in their last 22 power play opportunities over the course of their last four games.

“I guess we’re going to have to rethink the players were going to put on the ice,” Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said of the club’s power play. “We’re going to have to maybe do things a little different. We’ve been giving them a lot of chances to produce and it’s not working.”

Nathan MacKinnon dropped the gloves with Jonathan Ericsson just 44 seconds into the game. Despite giving up four inches to the 6-foot-4 Ericsson, last year’s Calder Trophy winner held his own in his first career fight.

MacKinnon’s bout sparked the Avs, who came out hot and controlled the pace in the first period. Unfortunately, they came away with nothing to show for it expect a 12-5 advantage in shots after Gabriel Landeskog’s first period goal was disallowed due to a hand pass by Nick Holden.

“It was the right call,” coach Roy said.

In the second period, the Red Wings tilted the ice toward Semyon Varlamov and cashed in with the game’s decisive goal.

With Jan Hejda in the penalty box for holding, Justin Abdelkader was left all alone at the top of Varlamov’s crease, where he capitalized on his second opportunity to give Detroit a 1-0 lead at 13:25 of the second period.

Coach Roy characteristically pulled his goalie early as time was winding down, but his team couldn’t find their magic on this night. Darren Helm and Luke Glendening added empty-netters to seal the victory for Detroit.

The Red Wings improved to 20-0-2 when taking a lead into the third period.

“Let’s not forget, tonight we played without [Tyson] Barrie and [Erik] Johnson and we kept them at one goal,” coach Roy said. “We played really well defensively, our guys worked hard tonight. 5-on-5, I honestly think that we were the best team on the ice. We had a lot of good chances.”

The Avalanche will look to get back on track when they visit the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

Nathan is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached on Twitter at @TheRealNatron.

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