NHL: Red Wings 2, Penguins 1
PITTSBURGH ó The Detroit Red Wings wrecked the Pittsburgh Penguins’ home-ice advantage and gave themselves a shot to hoist the Stanley Cup in Hockeytown.
Jiri Hudler snapped a third-period tie for the Red Wings, who rallied from an early deficit to beat the Penguins 2-1 Saturday night and grab a 3-1 lead in the finals.
Detroit will get the first of three potential chances to win the Cup back home in Game 5 on Monday night.
The Penguins were a perfect 9-0 in the Igloo during the postseason and hadn’t lost at home since falling in a shootout to San Jose on Feb. 24 ó a span of 17 games. Now they will have to figure out how to win at Joe Louis Arena to force the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 6.
That’ll be a tough task considering they couldn’t even score a goal in two games there to open the series.
Six teams have survived long enough to reach Game 7 after trailing 3-1 in the finals, but only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs ó who fell behind 3-0 to the Red Wings ó came all the way back to win.
Pittsburgh would have to win twice in Motown, where the Red Wings are 9-1 during the postseason, to capture the Stanley Cup for the third time. Detroit is on the brink of title No. 11 and its fourth in 11 seasons.
Hudler set up the Red Wings when he smacked in a backhander from the bottom of the right circle with his back to the net 2:26 into the third. Brooks Orpik’s clearing attempt from behind the net was kept in by Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart, who sent the bouncing puck back down low.
Rookie center Darren Helm chipped it to Hudler, who snapped a drive off Marc-Andre Fleury’s left arm and inside the post for his fifth of the playoffs. That was enough to hand Fleury his first home loss in 19 home starts, dating to Nov. 21.
Chris Osgood made 22 saves to improve to 13-3 in the postseason. He has allowed four goals in the series. Fleury stopped 28 shots.
Pittsburgh had a golden chance to tie it just past the midway point of the third when Andreas Lilja’s interference penalty on Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 5-on-3 power play for 1:27. Crosby had the best scoring opportunity, but Selke Trophy finalist Henrik Zetterberg tied up the Penguins captain’s stick at the right post and didn’t allow him to get off a shot.
Back in the friendly confines of the Igloo, the Penguins scored for the fourth straight period on home ice after being shut out for two games.
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