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The Pittsburgh Penguins finished with the lowest-point total in the Eastern Conference in 2005-06. The Detroit Red Wings, meanwhile, won the Presidents' Trophy with an NHL-leading 124 points.
This season, though, the Penguins began their campaign with an impressive victory while the Wings put forth a lackluster performance in dropping their opener.
Pittsburgh looks to open a season with consecutive wins for the first time since 1998-99 when it hosts Detroit for the first time in nearly three years on Saturday.
Hours after Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie signed a sales agreement for the estimated $175 million purchase of the Penguins from Mario Lemieux's ownership group, Marc-Andre Fleury made 40 saves and Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist to lead Pittsburgh to a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia on Thursday.
"We're happy. It's one and I think we have to take some things that are good and bad out of this," said Crosby, who had 39 goals and 63 assists as a rookie last season. "We have to take the fact that we found a way to win and everyone contributed to it."
Pittsburgh got an outstanding effort from its penalty killers Thursday, stopping all 10 opportunities for the Flyers.
"To get off to a good start is huge," Penguins defenseman Nolan Baumgartner said. "We showed a lot of emotion, took good shots, had some big hits and made some big saves. We were coming hard all night."
While Pittsburgh got a solid effort in goal in its opener, Dominik Hasek's return to Detroit got off to a bad start in a 3-1 loss to Vancouver on Thursday. The 41-year-old six-time Vezina Trophy winner, who last played for the Wings in 2003-04, had 14 saves on 17 shots.
Detroit came up empty on nine power-play chances and allowed Vancouver to convert twice in four opportunities.
"We just didn't feel like we worked as a unit," coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought there was a separation of our forwards and our defensemen and I didn't think we came up and down the ice very well."
Prior to Thursday's loss, the Wings named defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom as the team's captain to replace Steve Yzerman, who spent the last 19 seasons in the role before retiring in July.
"It's not going to change my game at all," the 36-year-old Lidstrom said. "I'll be communicating more with the coaches and management, but no changes on the ice at all."
Lidstrom is the second-oldest Detroit player to be named captain and the first European. Defenseman Ted Harris was 37 when he captained the club for a few games in 1973-74.
Detroit hasn't played in Pittsburgh since a 4-3 loss on Oct. 18, 2003, its only defeat to the Penguins in the last five meetings between the teams. The Wings won 3-1 at home in last season's matchup behind two goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Lidstrom's goal and assist.
Hasek is 13-16-5 versus Pittsburgh, one of only five teams he has a losing record against.
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