It's rare that the opposing goalie be your best player but that's partly what happened in Game 1. Detroit used two goals off of Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and one from rookie Justin Abdelkader to take the first game by a score of 3-1.
Although it would be hard to completely blame Fleury for the two goals, in the end he put them in the net. The first goal came when defenseman Brad Stuart put a shot off the lively boards at the Joe. The puck came off quickly and Fleury was too late repositioning himself and knocked the puck in the net with his rear end; much like the last goal he allowed to the Wings in the playoffs. Pittsburgh's Ruslan Fedotenko would tie the game with his 7th tally of the playoffs on a follow-up shot on a rebound given up by Chris Osgood. Osgood played the rebound as if he had Evgeni Malkin's shot settled but Fedotenko found the puck and backhanded it past an outstretched Osgood.
The second period saw the game's only penalties as the Wings took 2 penalties and the Penguins took 1. The Penguins missed capitalizing on a wide open net during the first powerplay and a similar chance on the second opportunity. This was the second consecutive game in which the Red Wings did not give up a powerplay goal after allowing one in 13 straight games.
Late in the second period, Brian Rafalski put a shot towards net that went wide. Johan Franzen backhanded the puck towards the crease and was credited with the goal as Fleury's sweeping leg knocked the puck into the net for a 2-1 Detroit lead with 58 seconds left in the period.Franzen added his 11th goal of the playoff campaign and yet another game winning goal.
Rookie Justin Abdelkader scored his first career NHL goal at 2:46 of the 3rd period, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead and some much needed breathing room. Abdelkader received a pass from fellow rookie Ville Leino from behind the net and put a shot on goal that was blocked up into the air. Abdelkader calmly picked the puck out of the air and then shot it right under the far corner to help the Wings control the game.
The 4th line got valuable time on the ice to relieve the Wings top lines with Game 2 less than a day away. Also, despite two of the best face-off men in the game--Draper and Datsyuk--out of tonight's line-up, the Wings had the edge in the circle 39-16 for an incredible 72% win rate.
Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled late in the 3rd period in favor of an extra attacker but the neither team was able to score as Marian Hossa's bid for the empty netter was deflected wide. The Wings were able to hold off Malkin and Sidney Crosby from tightening up the score and eventually ended the game in front of the home crowd with a win.
Game 2 begins Sunday at 8:00 pm ET and will air on NBC, CBC, or RDS depending on location.
Casey's Red Wing of the game: Chris Osgood. The netminder gave up one bad rebound and a goal as a result but bounced back and saved 31 of 32 shots. Osgood's biggest save of the game came on an Evgeni Malkin breakaway that could have shifted the balance of the game. Honorable mentions: The rookie Abdelkader, Johan Franzen, and the Penalty Killing unit
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