Franzén sets Detriot on road to Stanley Cup success

Swedish hockey star Johan Franzén opened the scoring in the NHL Stanley Cup finals on Saturday as defending champions Detroit seized the early advantage with a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh in game one of the championship series.

Swedish star Johan Franzén scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Chris Osgood made 31 saves for the Red Wings as they took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Franzén and Brad Stuart both had goals that went off Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

“We’re going to have to get goals like that,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I don’t think there are going to be a whole lot of skill plays.”

There was no fortuitous bounce of the puck for Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, whose third-period shot bounced off Osgood and a post and landed on the sprawled goalie’s back.

“It’s a race to four, and they got one,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, whose team will try to even the score in game two on Sunday in Detroit.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the two leading scorers in the postseason, were limited to one assist between them – by Malkin.

“When you’re on the road, the goal is win one of two, and if we play the way we did in the second period for 60 minutes, we like our chances,”

Pittsburgh forward Max Talbot said. “When they get the lead they’re a very good team, so maybe we need to get the lead (in game two).

Detroit rookie Justin Abdelkader gave the Red Wings a little extra breathing room with his first career playoff goal early in the third period.

Detroit welcomed back Swedish defensemen Nicklas Lidström and Jonathan Ericsson, and they played a key role in containing Crosby and Malkin.

Red Wings captain Lidström had missed the last two games of the Western Conference finals against Chicago with a lower body injury, while Ericsson played just three days after having an appendectomy.

“They’re a huge help on the blue line,” Red Wings forward Darren Helm said.

“The guys that played in their absence did an unbelievable job, but definitely having Nick, one of the best ‘D’ in the league, for him to come back and play against Crosby all night and keep him off the scoreboard’s really big for this team.”

Crosby and the Penguins are seeking to avenge their six-game loss to Detroit in last year’s finals.

It’s the first Stanley Cup finals rematch in 25 years, and Stuart put the Red Wings ahead when he deposited the puck behind Fleury and saw it carom off Fleury and into the net with 6:22 to play in the opening period.

“I think he sat on it and pushed it in the net,” Stuart said. “One of those lucky breaks – but we’ll take it.”

The Penguins answered as Malkin capitalized on turnover with a slap shot that Osgood couldn’t control, leading to Ruslan Fedotenko’s backhander off the rebound.

Detroit went ahead 2-1 in the final minute of the second period when Brian Rafalski’s shot bounced off the boards and Franzen corralled the loose puck and flipped a backhander over and off of the goalie.

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It’s official: Sweden’s Lundqvist is the NHL’s best goalie

Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist made 12 straight saves to win the goaltender competition at the NHL all-star game's skill night.

It's official: Sweden's Lundqvist is the NHL's best goalie
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers celebrates winning the Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak during the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills contest on Friday in San Jose, California. Photo: Thearon W. Hender
The New York Rangers goalie knocked off Russian Olympian Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who held the lead through several rounds after stopping the first eight shots he faced. 
The skill contests held on Friday night in San Jose, California also saw Edmonton Oilers speedster Connor McDavid win his third straight fastest skater title in a competition that included a female participant for the first time.
Canada's McDavid charged around the rink in just 13.37 seconds to eclipse Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel, who finished in 13.58 seconds at the SAP Center arena.
Kendall Coyne, who plays on the American women's national team, was invited to take part and finished seventh out of eight skaters, beating out Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller. Coyne cruised to a time of 14.34 seconds while Keller, who has 11 goals and 35 points with the Coyotes this season, finished in 14.52. 
“I thought she was unbelievable,” McDavid said. “She was absolutely flying out there.” 
Last year, Coyne's teammate Hilary Knight did the accuracy shooting drill, but her impressive time wasn't included in the official results.
Johnny Gaudreau defended his title in the puck control contest with a time of 27.045, and John Carlson, who captured a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last season, won the hardest shot contest with a blast of 102.8 mph.
The NHL all-star game will take place on Sunday.