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Archive for Sunday, June 1, 2008

Red Wings take 3-1 series lead

June 1, 2008

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— 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 - 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 indeed 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 - who fell behind 3-0 to the Red Wings - 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.

"It never gets old, but we haven't won anything yet," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.

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.

"It feels good, especially in this building," Hudler said. "It's a lot of fun, obviously, in the Stanley Cup finals. It was kind of a lucky goal, but I'll take it."

Chris Osgood made 22 saves to improve to 13-3 in the postseason.

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