DETROIT (AP) - 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 last night.
The puck-possessing Red Wings held on to it again all night and registered 34 shots. They put the clamps on the Penguins, who have yet to score in the finals. After a 19-save effort in a 4-0 series-opening win Saturday, Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots in a rocking-chair game and earned his third shutout of the playoffs - 13th in his 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. Of the 31 teams to win the first two games of the finals at home, 30 have captured the Cup.
“It’s really tough to generate offense against that team,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “They’re good on obstruction. It’s going to be tough to generate any kind of offense if the rule is remaining the same.
“It is tough to skate when they take away our ice.”
Game 3 is tomorrow night 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.
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.
Valtteri Filppula scored his fourth playoff goal 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 Sidney 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 trip 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.