Johan Franzen scored the crucial goal late in the second period and Chris Osgood made 31 saves to help the defending champions Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Game One of NHL's Stanley Cup finals in Detroit.
|Chris Osgood makes a crucial save against Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy [GALLO/GETTY]
Franzen and Brad Stuart had goals that went off Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who sat on a shot that trickled in for Detroit's series-clinching goal last year.
"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."
Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby did not have such luck when his third-period shot went off Osgood, a post and landed in the middle of the goalie's back as he 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.
Detroit's first goal of the series brought back memories of their 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.
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 could not 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.
Osgood got part of his glove on Malkin's wrist shot on the breakaway, and
Detroit's penalty killers limited the Penguins to two shots on their first play and none on their second.
|Marian Hossa shoots and scores for Detroit [GALLO/GETTY]
Osgood had to make a pair of saves two-thirds of the way through the second, denying Miroslav Satan on a shot just outside of the crease after Malkin set him up beautifully and turning away Crosby's backhander after a spectacular spin move.
Moments later, the Red Wings went on the power play for the first time and Fleury came through for Pittsburgh.
Brian Rafalski's blast was smothered by Fleury with a thud despite Tomas Holmstrom standing right in front of the goalie to obscure his vision.
Detroit went ahead 2-1 in the final minute, scoring again off the boards and Fleury.
Rafalski shot bounced off the boards, Franzen got to the loose puck and flipped a backhander over and off Fleury and into the net.
It was Franzen's his team-leading 11th goal of the playoffs and 24th score in the postseason since the start of last year's Stanley Cup run.