Chris Osgood made a season-high 46 saves, including 23 in the second period, to earn the 400th win of his career and help the Red Wings (23-9-4) fight off the Avalanche (19-12-5).
The 38-year-old Osgood became the 10th goaltender in NHL history to reach the milestone. He was surrounded by teammates who celebrated the achievement after the game.
"It was a relief to finally get it," Osgood told reporters after making just his ninth appearance of the season.
"I've been working at this for a while now. I wasn't really thinking about it as much as I was in previous games. I just wanted to give us a chance."
Matt Duchene scored twice for Colorado and forced overtime on his game-tying wrist shot with just 2:36 remaining in regulation.
The Red Wings won their second straight while the Avs fell to a third successive loss despite the return of winger Milan Hejduk.
Hejduk had not played since December 10 because of a groin injury but he assisted on the game's opening goal, a shot from Duchene at 3:29 into the first.
T.J. Galiardi also scored in the first for Colorado while Detroit got goals from Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen.
"It's an upsetting game," Galiardi said. "Forty-nine shots on net just shows how good we were playing. Sometimes that's the way it goes. You deserve to win and you don't get it."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)