The Red Wings broke it open with four goals in the second period — three in a span of 6:42 — against beleaguered goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who left after making 16 saves on 21 shots. It wasn’t the bouncy end boards that did him in this time, as they tormented him in the first two games, but rather a suddenly potent power play by the Red Wings.
Filppula started the barrage 1:44 into the second period when he made it 2-0 just 5 seconds after Chris Kunitz served a penalty for interfering with Osgood. That was the only even-strength goal of the period.
Niklas Kronwall pushed the lead to three at 6:11, 18 seconds into Sergei Gonchar’s slashing penalty on Datsyuk. Fellow defenseman Brian Rafalski made it 4-0 at 8:26, and Henrik Zetterberg — last year’s playoff MVP — closed the spurt at 15:40.
That chased Fleury to the bench in favor of backup Mathieu Garon, who made his first playoff appearance since 2004.
“We lost 5-0, so we can’t be happy,” Fleury said.
Datsyuk was sidelined since injuring his foot in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. He knocked Malkin hard off the puck behind the net and then made the final pass to set up Dan Cleary’s goal at 13:32 of the first period.
“He did very well for being off for as long as he has been,” Rafalski said. “He wasn’t 100 percent Pavel Datsyuk, but I will take 85 percent of Pavel Datsyuk than 100 percent of other guys.”
Cleary scored his seventh goal in 11 games, but he hadn’t registered a point in the finals.
Chants of Datsyuk’s name filled the arena, replaced by calls of “We Want the Cup” as the final minutes ticked down, and others saluting Osgood.
Notes: Detroit is 11-1 at home in the playoffs. ... Malkin, who leads with 35 playoff points, took three of Pittsburgh’s nine minor penalties. ... Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom played in his 233 NHL postseason game, tying former D Scott Stevens for fifth on the career list.
PHT: The Red Wings entered their series with the Blackhawks as massive underdogs. That's no longer the case after taking a 2-1 series lead Monday.
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