DETROIT — Prior to Game 2, Detroit faced the reality that its leading scorer, Johan Franzen, would miss the game with concussion-like symptoms.
But even with the Mule out, Dallas goalie Marty Turco’s focus was still on the six feet of blue paint in front of him. Especially Wings’ forward Tomas Holmstrom, Detroit’s other nuisance in the crease.
With Dallas defenseman Mattias Norstrom and Turco tag-teaming Holmstrom on a late first-period power play, Henrik Zetterberg’s point shot deflected off Mike Modano’s stick past Turco. That built a 2-1 lead for the Red Wings, which they never relinquished to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven game Western Conference finals.
Darren Helm added his first carrer NHL goal, and Detroit now heads to Dallas, the site of the next two games of the series with Game 3 on Monday night at American Airlines Center.
The Red Wings have scored 10 power-play goals in their last five games.
Turco seemed to be distracted the entire game. In the second period, he slashed Holmstrom across the back of the legs, eliciting a two-minute slashing penalty. On the ensuing power play, he tripped Valtteri Filppula.
And midway through the third period, Turco used his glove to punch Holmstrom in the back of the head. The Dallas netminder is still winless at Joe Louis Arena (0-9-2).
Playing just over two minutes in the first period, Helm opened up the scoring at 5:56.
Rushing down the left side, Helm found the top shelf past Turco’s glove. He has played just 15 NHL games, and was inserted into the playoff lineup against Nashville in Game 5.
Dallas didn’t muster its first shot until the six-minute mark. But it made its third shot, on the power play midway through the first period, count.
With Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios and Dallas forward Brendan Morrow crowding the crease, Wings goalie Chris Osgood bumped into Morrow and fell to a butterfly. At the same time, Stephane Robidas sent a one-timed slapshot from the point past the Detroit netminder to tie the game.
Just as in Game 1, Detroit was outshooting and outchancing the Stars, as well as dominating the faceoff cicle. But Dallas lingered around after the Red Wings spent half the second period in the penalty box.
Osgood, who faced only 21 shots in Game 1, faced more scoring chances Saturday. Early in the third period, he preserved the Wings’ one-goal lead with a last-ditch effort. Sliding away from the play, Osgood kicked out his left pad to get a piece of Modano’s wristshot. He stopped 17-of-18 shots.
With Dallas frustrated late, the two teams tussled behind the Detroit net at the end of the game. Dallas forward Mike Ribeiro swung his stick horizontally at Osgood’s chest. The Detroit netminder collapsed backward and remained on his back, where a Red Wings’ trainer attended to him.
Ribeiro received a 10-minute match penalty, automatically reviewed by the league, at the end of the game.
GAME NOTES: A Red Wings’ press release said Franzen has “been experiencing recurring headaches” since the Western Conference semifinal against Colorado. He will remain in Detroit on Monday, missing Game 3, to undergo further testing. … With Franzen out, Darren McCarty returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Game 1. He skated on the fourth line with Darren Helm and Jiri Hudler. Dan Cleary moved up to replace Johan Franzen on the second line, and Kirk Maltby moved up to take Cleary’s spot. … Tippett changed up his defense, as Matt Niskanen entered the lineup to replace Mark Fistric. Niskanen had not played since Game 5 against San Jose. … Jere Lehtinen left the game in the first period with a leg injury. He did not return. … Stars’ forward Stu Barnes, out of the lineup since April 29, practiced Friday but did not play tonight as hoped. “Stu is just average,” Tippett said. “He didn’t progress like we thought he would today.”