for this game

Power play gives Red Wings early series edge

May 9, 2008 - 5:27 AM
DETROIT (Ticker) -- A six-day layoff did little to slow down Johan Franzen and the Detroit Red Wings.

Franzen, defenseman Brian Rafalski and Tomas Holmstrom scored power-play goals as the top-seeded Red Wings cruised to a 4-1 victory over the fifth-seeded Dallas Stars in Game One of the Western Conference finals on Thursday.

Valtteri Filppula also tallied while captain Nicklas Lidstrom and fellow blue-liner Niklas Kronwall each recorded a pair of assists for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Red Wings, who outshot the Stars, 12-4, in the first period and went 3-for-7 on the power play.

"Very important, obviously, special-teams battles," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Very important we're able to get skating early so we could draw some penalties and get some momentum."

"Our power play has capitalized on our chances," Lidstrom added. "That's something we wanted to do as well, but we wanted a good, strong start, and the power play really helped us."

Chris Osgood made 20 saves in improving to 7-0 in the playoffs for Detroit, which hosts Game Two on Saturday.

Captain Brenden Morrow scored and Marty Turco stopped 27 shots for the Stars, who lost all three of their previous postseason meetings with the Red Wings.

"That's a game that wasn't even close to the games we played in the playoffs, whether there's some fatigue from the last game, whatever the reason," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We didn't play close to our capability. Give the Red Wings all the credit in the world. They did what they had to do to win, but we're going to have to be much better."

"It looked like we lacked a little emotion or jump that we'd been having," Turco added. "But this team's resiliency has been the biggest factor for us to be at this point in the playoffs. ... I know we'll be better in Game Two."

Playing for the first time since May 1, Detroit began its power-play onslaught just 4 1/2 minutes into the contest. After Lidstrom's slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle rang off the right goalpost, Rafalski wristed the puck past a screened Turco during a two-man advantage for his second goal of the postseason.

"We obviously wanted to score there," Rafalski said. "The rebound came out, a surprise came all the way back from the post. Guys were scrambling around and I saw Turco was down, so I was trying to go high and got it in."

"Had to engage right from the get-go," Babcock said. "We knew if we didn't, they would be all over us. ... Sometimes it's hard to get started right away, and I thought we were able to jump on them early."

The tally stretched the Red Wings' streak of consecutive games with a power-play goal to five.

"Special teams are usually one of our strengths," Morrow said. "But tonight, it let us down a bit. ... Got to get in the shooting lanes, not let those shots get through."

"The game's over now, no sense looking back at what happened," Dallas' Mike Ribeiro said. "We've just got to focus on being better for Game Two."

With 4:26 to go in the first period, Kronwall unleashed a slapper from the blue line that Franzen deflected past Turco for his league-leading 12th playoff goal and a 2-0 lead.

"I feel real lucky out there," Franzen said. "Nik threw a really good shot to the net and shot it perfect on the right side for me, so it was easy for me to tip the puck. ... When we get those big goals there in the beginning, it's hard for them to come back from that."

"Game after game, he's the 'Mule,'" Kronwall said. "He's working so hard and scoring big goals for us. He's always a horse for us out there. We're fortunate to have him."

It extended Franzen's goal-scoring streak to five games, tying him with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay for the franchise record. Howe accomplished the feat in both 1949 and 1964, while Lindsay recorded a five-game run in 1952.

"Hopefully it lasts for one more month," Franzen said.

"Mule's been tipping pucks great," Osgood said. "He's learned a lot from Homer (Holmstrom). He's taught him some things. It's a great 1-2 punch for us. Not a lot of teams in the league have that."

The goal was the 27th in the last 27 games dating to March 2 for Franzen, who tallied nine times in Detroit's four-game sweep of the Colorado Avalanche in the conference semifinals. It also pulled the Swede even with Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers for the playoff scoring lead with 15 points.

"He's a good hockey player," Babcock said. "He's a big, big guy and he's strong and he's got great hands. He was in front of Turco tonight. I thought we did a good job of that tonight early."

Franzen's goal also proved to be the game-winner, his league-leading fifth of the postseason and fourth in five contests. With the five game-winners, Franzen set the franchise record for one playoff year he had shared with Petr Klima and Vyacheslav Kozlov.

Henrik Zetterberg nearly matched the mark less than six minutes into the second period, but his wraparound attempt at the left post was thwarted by Turco, who just got his stick down in time to stop the puck from crossing the goal line.

Just 11 seconds later, Niklas Hagman had a chance to get Dallas on the scoreboard but was denied on a short breakaway by Osgood.

Detroit cashed in on the power play a third time shortly thereafter for a 3-0 bulge. From the left circle, Lidstrom - a finalist for the Norris Trophy - wristed the puck, which hit the right knee of Holmstrom in front and got past Turco at 6:40.

"He's one of the best in the league at tipping," Turco said. "He doesn't get enough credit for his hands. He's certainly willing to pay the price, and he did, and he got rewarded for it."

"You've got (Holmstrom) and now you've got Franzen deflecting every puck," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "It's hard to get them out of the way once they get position."

However, Turco believed Holmstrom was standing in the crease at the time, limiting his ability to make a play. Tippett agreed with his goaltender.

"We were told we had the ability to move through the blue, and I like to have my hands out in front of me," Turco said. "I wasn't able to do that because (Holmstrom's) coming backwards. It's a penalty, if you ask me. Those ones should be waved off."

"We were told that if there's going to be a player in the blue paint, that would be no goal," Tippett added. "Obviously, that didn't happen. So when they're in the blue paint, our goaltender is supposed to have an ability to do his job. The third goal, that wasn't the case.

"Marty is going to have to be more aggressive. We're going to have to be more aggressive to deal with those people in front if they're not going to call it how, to me, it's perceived supposed to be called."

Turco did not think he had much of a chance to prevent the first three goals.

"I didn't see the first one, to say the least," he said. "The second one I actually did see, but I was just looking so far on one side, and you anticipate those types of tips, but since it's so far to go without leaving some holes, you just get a piece of it. A lot of time, most of the time, it's enough, but tonight all of them found their way in - off bars, off me, a couple of them."

Filppula, who was questionable to play due to a leg injury, made it a four-goal cushion with 4:23 remaining in the period, beating Turco with a wrister during a short solo rush.

"You can't always rely on one line," Kronwall said. "I think that's something that's been good all through the playoffs. Obviously, Mule's been coming up with some huge goals for us. Fil tonight, great goal. Homer, he's always in front of the net scoring the ugly ones, so to speak, so I think it's key for us."

The Stars finally broke through against Osgood with 67 seconds left in the session, when Morrow buried the rebound of Steve Ott's shot from the right circle for his eighth of the postseason.

With time winding down, Ott had an opportunity to halve the deficit but hit the right post on a breakaway with 55 seconds remaining.

The Red Wings recorded fewer than 35 shots for just the second time this postseason but held their opponent to 21 or less for the sixth time in 11 playoff games.

Detroit has won seven straight contests since being tied at two games apiece with the Nashville Predators in the conference quarterfinals. Babcock believes the team is focused on its goal - winning the Stanley Cup.

"We've got a group that wants to win bad, and we're determined," he said. "I think scared is more like it. We've been here (in the conference finals) before and never got the job done. People don't understand how hard it is to win and how hard it is to be right here.

"We'd like to take the next step. We know it's going to be a huge battle."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 0 1 0 1
    DETROIT 2 2 0 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) BRIAN RAFALSKI 2 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, TOMAS
    HOLMSTROM) 4:28
    DET - (PP) JOHAN FRANZEN 12 (NIKLAS KRONWALL, JIRI HUDLER)
    15:34
    2ND PRD: DET - (PP) TOMAS HOLMSTROM 3 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, HENRIK
    ZETTE

    May 8 10:02 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 0 1 1
    DETROIT 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) BRIAN RAFALSKI 2 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, TOMAS
    HOLMSTROM) 4:28
    DET - (PP) JOHAN FRANZEN 12 (NIKLAS KRONWALL, JIRI HUDLER)
    15:34
    2ND PRD: DET - (PP) TOMAS HOLMSTROM 3 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM,

    May 8 9:12 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DALLAS 1
    DETROIT 4
    2ND PRD: DAL - BRENDEN MORROW 8 (UNASSISTED) 18:53

    Stars 1, Red Wings 4  2nd - 1:07May 8 9:10 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DALLAS 0
    DETROIT 4
    2ND PRD: DET - VALTTERI FILPPULA 3 (MIKAEL SAMUELSSON, NIKLAS
    KRONWALL) 15:37

    Stars 0, Red Wings 4  2nd - 4:23May 8 9:06 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DALLAS 0
    DETROIT 3
    2ND PRD: DET - (PP) TOMAS HOLMSTROM 3 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, HENRIK
    ZETTERBERG) 6:40

    Stars 0, Red Wings 3  2nd - 13:20May 8 8:50 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    DALLAS 0 0
    DETROIT 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) BRIAN RAFALSKI 2 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, TOMAS
    HOLMSTROM) 4:28
    DET - (PP) JOHAN FRANZEN 12 (NIKLAS KRONWALL, JIRI HUDLER)
    15:34
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- ---

    May 8 8:18 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DALLAS 0
    DETROIT 2
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) JOHAN FRANZEN 12 (NIKLAS KRONWALL, JIRI HUDLER)
    15:34

    Stars 0, Red Wings 2  1st - 4:26May 8 8:10 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL DALLAS 0
    DETROIT 1
    1ST PRD: DET - (PP) BRIAN RAFALSKI 2 (NICKLAS LIDSTROM, TOMAS
    HOLMSTROM) 4:28

    Stars 0, Red Wings 1  1st - 15:32May 8 7:51 PM
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