The Detroit Red Wings showed no signs of rust after a six-day layoff on Thursday, cruising to a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in the opening game of their NHL semi-final playoff series.
Johan Franzen, defenseman Brian Rafalski and Tomas Holmstrom scored power-play goals as the top-seeded Red Wings quickly gained the upper hand in the best-of-seven Western Conference final series, which will send the winner to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Valtteri Filppula also scored, while captain Nicklas Lidstrom and fellow blue-liner Niklas Kronwall each notched a pair of assists for Detroit.
Chris Osgood made 20 saves in improving to 7-0 in the playoffs for the Red Wings, who host Game 2 today.
Captain Brenden Morrow scored and Marty Turco stopped 27 shots for the Stars, who lost all three of their previous post-season meetings with the Red Wings.
Detroit started their power-play onslaught four-and-a-half minutes into the contest. Lidstrom’s slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle bounced off the right goalpost and Rafalski wristed the puck past Turco during a two-man advantage.
The tally stretched the Red Wings’ streak of consecutive games with a power-play goal to five.
With 4 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the first period, Kronwall unleashed a slap shot from the blue line that Franzen deflected past Turco for his league-leading 12th playoff goal and a 2-0 lead.
It extended Franzen’s goal-scoring streak to five games, tying him with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay for the franchise record.
It also pulled him even with Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers for the playoff scoring lead with 15 points.
Detroit capitalized on the power play a third time for a 3-0 bulge when Lidstrom wristed the puck, which hit the right knee of Holmstrom and got past Turco in the second period.
Filppula, who was questionable to play because of a leg injury, made it a four-goal cushion with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the period.
The Stars finally broke through against Osgood with 67 seconds left in the session, when Morrow buried the rebound of Steve Ott’s shot from the right circle.
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