Wings pull away from Pens in Cup opener
The Stanley Cup finals opener was full of flashbacks.
Pittsburgh superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were slowed down and the Detroit Red Wings scored some fortunate goals.
Johan Franzen scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Chris Osgood made 31 saves, helping the defending champion Red Wings beat the Penguins 3-1 on Saturday night in Game 1.
Franzen and Brad Stuart had goals that went off Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, whose sat on a shot that trickled in for Detroit's series-clinching goal last year.
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"We're going to have to get goals like that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't think there are going to be a whole lot of skill plays."
Crosby, though, didn't have such luck when his third-period shot went off Osgood, a post and landed in the middle of the goalie's back as lay on the ice.
Detroit rookie Justin Abdelkader scored his first playoff goal early in the third, providing a cushion.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Detroit.
"It's a race to four, and they got one," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.
The NHL and its TV partners likely were happy with how the first Stanley Cup finals rematch in a quarter-century got started.
The action, especially in the first period, matched the hype.
"When you've been here before, you know what to expect so you're ready to start on time," Babcock said.
End-to-end action, big hits such as Crosby's left shoulder sending Henrik Zetterberg to the ice, scoring opportunities and a 1-1 score had to hold nontraditional viewers giving hockey a chance.
Detroit's first goal of the series brought back memories of its last Cup-clinching goal.
Stuart simply dumped the puck behind Fleury and was rewarded with a fortunate carom that sent the puck off Fleury's right skate and across the goal line with 6:22 left in the first period.
"They got some fortunate breaks," Bylsma said.
In Game 6 last year in Pittsburgh, the goal that ended up being the difference was pushed in when Fleury squatted on the puck.
The Penguins didn't need good fortune to tie Saturday's game.
Malkin baited Stuart into trying to clear a puck off the boards and took advantage of the turnover with a slap shot that Osgood couldn't control, leading to Ruslan Fedotenko's backhander off the rebound.
Pittsburgh had a breakaway and two power plays in the first half of the second period, and had nothing to show for it.