Red Wings keep Penguins scoreless
DETROIT — Hockeytown is halfway to hoisting the Stanley Cup again.
With first-period goals from Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom and another lockdown defensive effort, the Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night.
The puck-possessing Red Wings again held onto it all night and registered 34 shots. They put the clamps on the Penguins, who have yet to score in the series. After a 19-save effort in a 4-0 series-opening win Saturday, Chris Osgood stopped 22 in a rocking-chair game and earned his third shutout of the playoffs — 13th career.
The often-overlooked Osgood owns the Red Wings record with 50 postseason victories, ahead of Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk, and is closing in on his third Cup with Detroit — two as the starting netminder.
Osgood is the first to post shutouts in the first two games of the finals since New Jersey's Martin Brodeur in 2003 against Anaheim.
"All it means to me is that I'm just confident, and I'm going to try to do it for as long as I can," Osgood said. "It's as simple as it gets."
Of the 31 teams to win the first two games of the finals at home, 30 have captured the Cup. Game 3 is Wednesday in Pittsburgh, and the Penguins will have to win one of the next two to force a trip back to Motown.
The Penguins are 8-0 at Mellon Arena in the postseason and have a 16-game winning streak inside the Igloo, dating to Feb. 24. Detroit needs two wins to lock up its 11th Stanley Cup title and fourth in 11 seasons.
"We just have to execute," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Did they really get that many scoring chances on us? I don't think they did. They got a few and put them in. We hit a post, and pucks go through us by the net that we don't put in. That's the difference."
Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien complained about obstruction by the Red Wings and diving by Osgood. The Penguins were uncharacteristically whistled for two goalie interference penalties, one quickly negated a Pittsburgh power play.
"He's a good actor," Therrien said. "I know our players are frustrated right now. It's tough to play the game, but Osgood did the same thing against Dallas.
"Our team never goes to the goalie. We never did it, and we don't target the goalie. You want to talk about experience, he goes to players, and he knows what to do, I guess."
Unlike Game 1 when the teams played a scoreless first period, the Red Wings came out flying. Showing none of the nerves Detroit coach Mike Babcock said his team had in the opener, the Red Wings got goals from Stuart and Holmstrom 4:23 apart.
Pittsburgh was outshot 8-0 and allowed two goals before getting a puck on Osgood.
Valtteri Filppula scored 8:48 into the third, streaking to the net around defenseman Kris Letang with the teams skating 4-on-4.
Pittsburgh managed only six shots in the first period, despite four revamped lines, and none came at even strength. The Penguins didn't get much of a lift with hard-hitting, 42-year-old Gary Roberts back in the lineup after a four-game absence, and Detroit again shut down young scorers Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Osgood hasn't allowed a goal in 137 minutes and 33 seconds, dating to Game 6 against Dallas in the Western Conference finals. For the second straight game he heard adoring chants of "Oz-zie, Oz-zie" that easily drowned out the large pockets of cheering Penguins fans who made the four-hour drive from Pittsburgh.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stayed on his feet this time upon hopping onto the ice before the opening faceoff, but couldn't get enough of his stick on Stuart's drive from inside the blue line at 6:55 to keep the puck from hopping up and into the net. It was the defenseman's first playoff goal.
Holmstrom has made a living on scoring from close quarters, and did so again without infringing on the crease. Holmstrom passed the puck out front to fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg, who squeezed a shot between Fleury's pads. As the puck trickled tantalizingly close to the goal line, Holmstrom moved in at the right post and slammed a shot in at 11:18.
He was called for interference on Fleury in the first period on Saturday, negating a goal by captain Nicklas Lidstrom. That's about the only thing that has gone right for the Penguins, who entered the finals 12-2 in the playoffs.
Now they are the fourth team this year to fall behind 2-0 to the Red Wings, who are 9-1 at home.
Osgood was as steady as he needed to be on a night he didn't see a whole lot of work.
"My focus was to win the two games at home," he said. "Not ever did I ever think about getting two shutouts in a row against that team."
A turnover by defenseman Andreas Lilja in a somewhat sluggish second period for the Red Wings, led to a chance in front. Jordan Staal shot wide left, but the puck came quickly back to him off the lively end boards, and his rebound attempt was gobbled up by Osgood.
Therrien became testy before the game when asked about the Penguins' struggling power play that entered the series with the best percentage among teams that advanced past the first round. The unit went 0-for-4 Monday and has clicked only twice in 16 chances over four games.
With a chance to cut into the lead 8 minutes into the third, the Penguins had a power play ended after 15 seconds when Ryan Malone was sent off for interference on Osgood. Malone was moved up to Crosby's line and Pascal Dupuis slid down.
Malkin has disappeared since a hard hit from Philadelphia's Mike Richards in the opener of the East finals. The MVP finalist has one goal and one assist in six games and appears to be tiring at the end of a long season.
Crosby hasn't figured out how to get free of Detroit's top line of Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Holmstrom, and the 20-year-old captain showed frustration as he sipped water from a bottle on the bench.
More frustration and some chippiness led to late-game scuffles. The first was precipitated by Roberts' driving glove hand to the face of Johan Franzen, who returned after missing six games following recurring headaches. He was back on the ice for his next shift and took a roughing penalty.
A big scuffle erupted in the corner with 1:08 left after Petr Sykora bumped Osgood behind the net.